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Pollen count warning: A high count and thunderstorms could trigger this condition

Pollen count is based on the measurement of the number of grains of pollen in a cubic metre of the air. The higher the pollen count, the bigger chance that someone suffering from allergies including hay fever will experience worse symptoms when they are outside or exposed to outdoor air. The Met Office have forecasted medium levels of pollen in the South including Wales and low levels of pollen in the North.


  • Pollen count: Treatments that may work if the count is high

With thunderstorms forecast for today, national charity Allergy UK is warning people living with hay fever and asthma to be prepared for the effects of what is known as ‘Thunderstorm Asthma’, a weather based condition.

This condition can trigger asthma and make symptoms worse for people living with conditions such as hay fever and asthma.

Asthma is the most common long-term respiratory disease in the UK, which Asthma UK suggests may affect more than five million people.

Allergy UK has revealed advice on how best to manage symptoms during this time.

When the pollen count is high, people tend to experience worse symptoms than they would if it was moderate or low.

Thunderstorms can be problematic for those with asthma and hay fever.

This is because due to higher levels of pollen, they are drawn up into the air and turned into smaller particles.

This not only creates more pollen in the atmosphere but because of the size of them, they become much finer and have the ability to be more deeply inhaled into the lungs.

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Breathing this into the lungs can cause irritation and inflammation and has the potential to trigger an asthma attack.

It is important to recognise that high levels of pollen can trigger asthma as well as hay fever symptoms.

Allergy UK Nurse Advisor, Holly Shaw said: “Some airborne allergens involved in thunderstorm asthma are grass pollen and mould spores. For people with hay fever and asthma these weather conditions can potentially cause difficulty of breathing and chest tightening.

“It is therefore extremely important that people take precautions and manage their allergies right now.”


  • The most effective treatments for keeping hay fever symptoms at bay

Grass pollen is one of the most common hay fever triggers. It occurs between mid-May to July and it is suggested that the pollen counts are the highest early in the morning.

Asthma UK are urging everyone who suffers from hay fever to make sure that they start their regular hay fever medication or remedies, so that they reduce the risk of hay fever triggering an asthma attack.

Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles in your airways and ease symptoms immediately.

It is very important to carry this type of inhaler with you at all times.

For long-term control of asthma, a GP might prescribe you a preventer inhaler. This reduces sensitivity and swelling in the airways, helping to stop coughing and wheezing.

Holly Shaw added: “If you haven’t got anything to help you manage your symptoms and you experience difficulty breathing and tight in your chest make sure to seek medical help without delay. In some cases it can be dangerous.”

Allergy UK advises that if you suffer from asthma to stay indoors during and after the thunderstorm and to try to keep windows closed if possible.

They also recommend avoiding any triggers that you think may make your asthma symptoms worse like excessive exercise or alcohol.

You can check the accurate pollen count here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/seasonal-advice/pollen-forecast#?date=2020-05-21

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  • Posted on May 21, 2020