Met Office warns of ‘very high’ pollen levels across the UK as pollution and stormy weather peaks, spelling disaster for people with hay fever
High levels of pollen, increased pollution and the threat of stormy weather is set to create a miserable cocktail for allergy sufferers, experts have said.
Asthmatics, those with hay fever and people with chronic health conditions have been warned to take extra care when leaving the house this week.
Pollen counts will rise again from Monday before hitting ‘very high’ across the south of England on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is also forecasting moderate pollution levels towards the middle of the week.
Stormy weather breaks up pollen particles in the air, threatening misery for millions of allergy sufferers.
Despite the unusually cool weather grass pollen levels – responsible for sneezing, itchy eyes and sore throats – began peaking last week.
The Met Office said very high pollen levels will coincide with rising temperatures this week with highs of 77F (25C) due by Thursday.
Forecaster Calum MacColl said: “Pollen levels will rise to very high from Tuesday as we get a good deal of sunshine across the country.
“Grass and week pollen is very high anyway and levels will rise across the south and further north to the Midlands and even Yorkshire.
“Tropical maritime air from the southwest will see temperatures rise by through the week to around 25C with pollen levels staying high.”
He said parts of the north are braced for heavy rain thanks to a low pressure system pulling the remnants of Tropical Depression Bill into the UK.
The fierce storm hit the United States last week triggering devastating floods across Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas.
Hot weather and rain supercharged the storm as it swept across land when usually it would lose strength.
Mr MacColl added: “The remnants of Bill could bring some storm weather with strong winds and the heaviest rain in the northwest.”
Maureen Jenkins, clinical director of of Allergy UK said stormy weather can make hay fever symptoms worse.
She said: “It is important to point out that storms break up pollen particles and makes them more potent and this affects people more.
“Pollen with high pollution levels also increases sensitivity as pollen sticks to pollution particles again, again increasing the effect it has.
“The implications are that people with asthma or hay fever should take their medication and be careful when levels are high.
“Even people who are not allergic to pollen can be really affected.”
Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said: “People with asthma need to be aware that very high levels of pollen forecast may make their symptoms worse and increase their risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack.
“Up to 80 per cent of people with asthma also have hay fever and people living in urban areas need to take special care as they are at risk of what is being referred to as ‘Grey Fever’ where pollen particles combine with pollution especially during periods of dry warm weather.
“If you know that pollen or pollution triggers your asthma symptoms you should check pollen and air pollution forecasts for your local area.
“If you have asthma it is vital you take your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed by your GP or asthma nurse as this helps build resilience to your asthma triggers.”
Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel UK, said after a cool start to the week temperatures will rise later in the week.
He said: “Monday looks like quite a cool and wet day over southern England and Wales, it will be brighter with sunshine and showers over the north, but western Scotland should stay dry and mostly sunny.
“The weather is mainly dry for the middle of next week over the south and some pleasant sunshine, but showers over the far north, temperatures will gradually become warmer again.
“There is some uncertainly but rain will spread to the west during Thursday and showers to the south and east by Friday.”
The Met Office has forecast temperature of 25C (77F) around the south this week with highs of 19C (66F) further north.
Warm air from the south will see temperatures even higher in some spots although humidity and pollution will rise.
A Defra spokesman said: “Areas of Moderate air pollution are likely to develop across parts of southern and eastern England on Thursday and Friday.”