Hay fever outbreak expected as Met Office warns over soaring pollen levels

'Very high' pollen for much of the country from Thursday - and will carry on into the weekend and beyond

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The Independent Online

Soaring pollen levels are expected to lead to a surge in hay fever symptoms as millions suffer from itchy throat, runny nose and streaming eyes.

The Met Office has issued a warning that, in parts of the country, pollen levels will be 'very high' - the highest level - as the peak of the grass pollen season approaches.

Very high pollen levels, particularly in the south of England, are set to continue into the weekend.

And experts say high or very high pollen levels could continue for two weeks because of the warm, dry weather.

The Met Office tweeted on Thursday that people with hay fever were likely to suffer symptoms such as an itchy throat or a runny nose.


Dr Jean Meberlin, a pollen expert, told Mail Online: "The pollen count for grass is going to be high, or very high, on warm dry days with a slight breeze for the next two weeks and in to July.

"Warm dry days provide good conditions for grass dispersal.

"The count will go down slightly further in to July.

"This is due to the high pollen production on the plants throughout the spring including May - warm temperatures which have been average or above average and adequate rainfall have meant that the grass has grown very well."

Around one-in-five people suffer from hay fever, according to the Met Office. Most of those, 95 per cent, are allergic to grass pollen, though tree and weed pollen can also trigger symptoms.


But Dr Meberlin said that the number of sufferers in Britain is rising, to 20 million this summer. That's a five million increase on the year before.

Those with a fmaily history of other allergies, especially asthma and eczema are more likely to suffer from hay fever.

According to the NHS website, "Hay fever does not pose a serious threat to health but it can have a negative impact on your quality of life.

"People with very bad hay fever often find that it can disrupt their productivity at school or work."

Complications include sinusitis, inflammation of the sinuses, and middle-ear infections in children.