Asthma sufferers have been warned over potentially deadly ‘thunder fever’, ahead of this weekend’s mix of thunderstorms and high pollen count.
Heavy thunderstorms are expected from Saturday to Monday in parts of the country, while the pollen count is expected to reach high in Yorks and Humber and Stratchlyde over the weekend.
Last year the combination dubbed “thunder fever” killed nine people in Melbourne, Australia.
People with asthma are advised to keep their medication on hand over the weekend to relieve their symptoms.
Sonia Munde of Asthma UK said an estimated 3.3million Brits had their asthma triggered by pollen.
She told The Sun: “Thunderstorms can have a devastating impact on people with asthma and trigger an asthma attack which could be fatal.
“Humid, stormy conditions break the pollen into much smaller particles, which are then inhaled more deeply into the lungs and can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.”
High pollen counts can also affect people suffering from hay fever.
Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen that usually gets worse between late March and September, when its warm and humid.
It’s estimated that 40% of the population suffer from hay fever, and even with closed windows, pollen can find its way indoors and prevent people from going about their day-to-day life.
The most common symptoms are usually caused when our bodies, in contact with the outside, produce allergic antibodies to proteins in tree and grass pollen.
When pollen is inhaled, the proteins cause the antibodies to burst and release histamine. It’s this defence system that triggers the sneezing, itching, sore eyes and runny nose that many of us experience in the warmer months.
In the longer-term, symptoms can cause airways to inflame and block, resulting in poor sleep, infections or sinusitis.
This can also lead to the skin around the eyes becoming swollen.
The main triggers of hay fever are tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen and fungal spores, with grass pollen being the most common; it affects up to 90% of those who are unlucky enough to experience hay fever.