UK heading to 'worst day of the year for hay fever' as pollen count soars (2024)

THE UK is heading towards the worst day this year for hay fever.

Pollen counts will be 'very high' across almost the whole of the UK on Monday causing misery for millions.


Only Orkney and Shetland and the Highlands and Eilean SIar, in Scotland, will have 'medium' counts.

It comes as the NHS saw a doubling in visits to its page onhay fever.

The NHS website has received an average of 11,736 visits a day since Monday June 18 compared to a daily average of 4,749 visits at the weekend – an increase of 147 per cent.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director, said: “Most people will be pleased to see summer finally arrive, but it also seems to have led to an increase in pollen levels and discomfort forhayfeversufferers."

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'Hay Day' was a term dubbed by the charity Asthma + Lung UK for the worst day of the year for people with hay fever, typically on June 21.

Allergens expert and creator of HayMax allergen barrier balms Max Wiseberg, says: "On Monday for 14 of the 16 UK regions – with only northern Scotland escaping.

"This will be worse than ‘Hay Day’ [Friday June 21] when ‘only’ 12 UK regions are likely to have very high pollen levels.

“Whether or not this turns out to be the case, this weekend and early next week will certainly be one of the worst times for hay fever sufferers.

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"Many regions of the UK are forecast to have high and very high pollen counts for the foreseeable future. We are definitely in peak hay fever season.”

Million Britons are plagued by symptoms of hay fever every summer from itchy eyes, a constant runny nose,headachesto irritating sneezes.

What is hay fever?

For people withasthma, high pollen levels can be fatal - and they've been warned to 'stay indoors'.

“More than three million people with asthma are affected by pollen and when levels are at their highest it can be deadly for those with a lung condition," said Erika Radford from Asthma + Lung UK.

"When pollen particles are breathed in, they can cause inflammation in the airways and get into the lungs, making it harder for those with lung conditions to breathe which can be terrifying," she explained.

However, Erica said there are things people with asthma can do to protect themselves.

“Checking pollen and air pollution forecasts in your local area every day is a good idea, so you can avoid going outdoors as much as possible on high pollen days," she said.

  “You should always have your reliever inhaler nearby, even when at home, in case pollen does trigger symptoms like breathlessness or chest tightness. 

"Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles in the airways to help you breathe more easily when symptoms arise.

 “Another thing you can do is to take antihistamine medicines to relieve your hay fever symptoms.

"In addition, your GP can prescribe a steroid nasal spray to help reduce the allergic reaction."


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It comes after doctors revealed a man tore a hole in his throat after holding in a sneeze.

And a student nurse claimed doctors repeatedly dismissed her waxy ear and neck lumps as 'fresher's flu' or 'hay fever'.

Best hay fever treatments to buy online

1. Allergy Eye Mist

If you hate the thought of drops, consider an eye mist which works in the same way – just spray it once or twice onto closed eyelids to to three times a day.

TryOptrex ActiMist Double Action Spray Itchy Watery Eyes, £13.75.Boots Allergy Eye Mist, 10ml, £9.99, is suitable for all types of contact lenses too.

2. Cetirizine Allergy & Hay Fever Tablets

Products containing Cetirizine work to combat allergies without making you feel tired.

Superdrug's pack of 30 tabletscomes in at £5.45.

3. Hay Fever Relief Nasal Spray

For over-the-counter relief you could tryPirinase Allergy Relief Nasal Spray for Adultsx 60 Sprays from Superdrug, £8.39.

Or for something on prescription, tryBeclometasone Nasal Spray from ChemistClick, £5.49.

4. Vaseline

Dabbing a little bit of petroleum jelly around the edges of your nose works as a barrier to trap pollen before you breathe it in.

Try branded balms such asHaymax pure organic drug-free pollen barrier balm 5ml, £8.49. Or petroleum jelly such asVaselinedoes just the same job for only a fraction of the price.

5. The Eye Doctor Allergy Hay Fever Compress

The Eye Doctor Allergy Hay Fever Compress has thermal dynamic fabric, which uses regulated evaporation to cool more rapidly.

It helps to reduce puffiness, swelling, itching, inflammation and even headaches, and comes with an adjustable comfy strap.

You can buy it atSuperdrug for £8.99.

6. Throat spray

Ultra Chloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray contains the active ingredient benzocaine which belongs to the group of medicines called local anaesthetics.

You can buy UltraChloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray for £6 from Amazon.

UK heading to 'worst day of the year for hay fever' as pollen count soars (2024)


When is hay fever season in the UK? ›

From about March until May, the blossoming of trees such as hazel and birch creates the first wave of symptoms for some pollen allergy sufferers. From May until July grass pollen forms the bulk of the UK's pollen load. Weed pollen (such as dock and mugwort) starts to occur from June and can last well into the autumn.

Why is hay fever worse in UK? ›

It's likely a changing climate will impact pollen patterns in at least three ways: A changing climate will mean that changes in temperature and rainfall may lengthen the UK pollen season and potentially make pollen concentrations higher.

Why is my hayfever so bad at the moment? ›

It can be triggered by allergens in the air around us, like grass, tree, plant pollen and mould. Between May and July, during the traditional growing season, trees and plants create more pollen, and this, together with warmer more humid temperatures and winds, can bring about a spike in our symptoms.

How many people in the UK suffer with hayfever? ›

How many of us in the UK are impacted by allergies? The UK has one of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions on the planet, with 1 in 3 of us living with allergies and hay fever. That's around 21 million people in total, with all age groups impacted by hay fever symptoms in the UK.

What is pollinating now in the UK? ›

Grass and nettle pollen currently airborne during warm, dry weather.

Is pollen worse this year, 2024? ›

It could be the summer of sneezing for allergy sufferers in the United States with AccuWeather predicting an "intense and prolonged" pollen season for large parts of the country.

What is the most effective hayfever relief? ›

Some of the strongest over-the-counter antihistamines include Cetirizine, Loratadine, and Fexofenadine. These newer, second-generation antihistamines are highly effective at managing hayfever symptoms, causing fewer side effects than older, first-generation options.

What medication is used for hayfever in the UK? ›

Many antihistamine tablets are available over the counter for the treatment of hay fever, including cetirizine, fexofenadine and loratadine. You may be more familiar with the brand names that these medicines are sold under, such as Clarityn, Zirtek, Benadryl and Piriton.

What is the new treatment for hay fever? ›

Grazax® is used to reduce allergic reactions to grass pollen. We might recommend this treatment if: you have a severe allergy to grass pollen. your other medicine does not control your symptoms well.

Where is the best place to live in the UK for hayfever sufferers? ›

'Generally speaking, living near the sea will give you a lower pollen count. ' Another good option, Dr Emberlin says, are 'areas of moorland, or upland, where there is more heather and less grass'. So where are the worst locations to put down roots as a hay fever sufferer?

What country has the most hayfever? ›

Australia and New Zealand have some of the highest hay fever rates in the world, making them two of the worst places to live with allergies. Location plays a significant role in hay fever, which is why some people can be unaffected their whole life until they move.

What is the strongest antihistamine? ›

Zyrtec. Zyrtec (cetirizine) is the strongest of the second-generation antihistamines, says Dr. Garcia-Ibáñez. And because there is less chance of toxicity with this medication, the dosage can be increased substantially, at the discretion of your doctor, he says.

What time of year is hay fever most common? ›

Most people associate hay fever with spring, when airborne grass pollens are at their peak. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or spring hay fever. However, hay fever can occur at any time of the year. When symptoms occur all year round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis.

What months cause hay fever? ›

Hay fever triggers

Grass pollen, which is common in late spring and summer. Ragweed pollen, which is common in fall. Dust mites and co*ckroach droppings, which are present year-round. Dander from pets, which can be bothersome year-round but might cause worse symptoms in winter, when houses are closed up.

What can cause hay fever in winter UK? ›

Common indoor allergy triggers include:
  • Pet dander.
  • Dust.
  • Dust mites.
  • Mold.
  • co*ckroaches: feces and shells left behind.
  • Rodents seeking shelter from cold weather bring dander, droppings, urine and parasites that may trigger allergy symptoms.

Is hay fever just seasonal allergies? ›

Seasonal allergies are sometimes called "hay fever" or seasonal allergic rhinitis. These allergy symptoms happen during certain times of the year, usually when trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.


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