The evenings are lighter, the days are warmer, and we’re leaving the house without a coat. What more could you ask for from the universe with the onset of summer?
Well for many people, summer doesn’t exactly spell brighter days. In fact, for millions of people, summer causes despair. Itchy eyes, runny noses, congested nostrils, blocked ears and lots of sneezing are exactly what to expect as soon as the Spring season gets into full swing; make way for summer.
According the met office forecast today, next week’s grass pollen count will rise to ‘Very High’ as temperatures are set to soar into the late teens and early 20’s in some parts of UK
In the TNT office, journalists are daily going through packs of tissues as the pollen attacks become more aggressive as the year moves into the sunny weeks.
For the uninitiated, hay fever is a common allergic condition caused by pollen (the fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive system). It’s the proteins in pollen that cause irritation to the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses.
“Hay fever affects one in four of us in the UK and it’s a major burden to quality of life,” says Professor Stephen Durham, head of allergy services at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital. “And the name is very misleading; it’s not caused by hay, and it doesn’t cause a fever”.
Many mistakenly think hay fever is caused by the pollen in flowers; yet it’s caused by wind-pollinated plants, like grasses, trees and weeds.
Sufferers are more likely to be affected on hot, sunny days, and, paradoxically, town and city-dwellers are often the most hit, because the air stays warmer for longer in built-up areas, and air pollution may worsen hay fever symptoms.
Preventative measures include closing windows at night, drying clothes inside, wearing sunglasses outdoors and showering after being outside. Antihistemines from the chemist can be effective too, whilst consuming natural local honey can build up your immunity to local pollen.
“Oh it’s the worst season of them all. I genuinely cannot wait until autumn and winter. I can’t even feel my face. My nose is painful”, Manchester’s British Sign Language (BSL) instructor, Tayyibah Muhammad told TNT.