SOARING numbers will be hit by hay fever this weekend, experts have warned.
Warm weather and lockdown easing to allow socialising outdoors will leave many of the UK’s 18million sufferers struggling.
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High pollen counts were expected in the South and Midlands this week as temperatures peaked at 24C (75F).
The weekend should see a more seasonal maximum of 12C but dry and breezy conditions could result in high pollen levels.
Allergy specialist Dr Dinkar Bakshi said there was a surge in cases last year as lockdown meant more time spent outside.
He added: “We are expecting to see an upsurge in the number of people suffering symptoms this Easter.
“With the new rules meaning this is the first weekend people can now meet outside for picnics, we are expecting to see more people experiencing hay fever again this year.”
Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to certain pollens and can cause a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, headaches and tiredness.
The majority of sufferers are allergic to grass pollen but one in four has a tree pollen allergy.
The tree pollen season usually peaks in England in April to May, with the grass pollen season lasting from May to August.
Those with hay fever may be pleased to know that mask wearing against Covid may also help to suppress their allergies.
A recent study carried out in Birmingham, Alabama shows that nurses with hay fever had significantly reduced symptoms when wearing a face mask.
Top tips to alleviate hay fever symptoms
Mark Shelton, Optometrist and Clinical Development Coach at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists gives his top tips on how to keep hay fever symptoms at bay
Staying indoors between 10:30am and 3:30pm, and on windy and humid days, when pollen counts are at their highest
· If you use contact lenses, daily disposable lenses can provide a protective barrier to pollen but reusable lenses are likely to make your symptoms worse over time
· Avoiding alcohol, which is known to increase allergy symptoms
· Using an air conditioning unit to filter the air in the buildings you’re using
· Bathing your eyes regularly in cold water or using cooling eye masks
· Removing hair, including a fringe, from your face – pollen gets trapped in hair and can reach the eye
· Drying your clothes inside – materials also capture pollen, which then come into contact with your skin and can make their way to your eyes
· Using face wipes that are designed to attract and remove pollen that may be on your face
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