Met Office warns hay fever sufferers of huge early pollen release

Tissues at the ready! Met Office warns hay fever sufferers that warmer temperatures and sunshine this week will spark huge early pollen release from spring flowers and budding trees

  • Warm temperatures could see hay fever season arrive weeks earlier than usual
  • The mild winter means that tree pollen is likely to hit central and southern areas
  • Hay fever suffers are advised to take a Covid test in case symptoms are confused

Warm weather at the end of this week is likely to have millions of people rushing to buy hay fever tablets and tissues as the MET office is predicting it will trigger the release of a huge amount of pollen weeks earlier than usual.

Hay fever usually strikes during the late spring and summer, so to have it flaring now with winter hardly finished may see stocks of remedies being quickly bought up.

The Met Office is warning that a wave of pollen is about to hit Britain, which could spell misery for millions of people.

But the weather forecasting institute is advising that hay fever suffers take a Covid test too – just in case you have confused the symptoms.

The upcoming weekend of warm weather could trigger an early release of pollen across the country according to the MET Office (file photo)

Hay fever is usually worse and the the pollen count (file photo of pollen) is at its highest between late March and September, especially when it’s warm

Birch tree pollen (Birch tree pictured) is likely to be reduced earlier than normal following a mild winter, though most people are more likely to be allergic to grass pollen

 The wall to wall sunshine will see many areas experience temperatures around 15 C – after today’s rain belt moves away.

The sunny weather will spark a huge release of early pollen, especially from trees about to burst into bud.

With some sun in the last few days, some sufferers are already reporting runny noses, itching eyes and headaches – class symptoms of hay fever. 

While chemists are saying there’s been a run on treatments such as anti-histamines. 

The recent mild weather has brought many spring flowers into full bloom, causing some pollen to be released weeks early.

The Met Office usually starts its pollen count around the end of March to the beginning of April.

  • Symptoms of hay fever include: Sneezing, coughing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy or watery eyes, itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears, loss of smell, pain around your temples and forehead, headache, earache and feeling tired
  • It is triggered by an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants
  • You can keep track of how bad you hay fever might be by checking the pollen count
  • Symptoms normally occur when the pollen count is above 50

    How can you ease symptoms? 


    While there will be many welcoming the lovely weather, those with pollen allergies will be dreading it.

    The Met Office said: ‘The mild winter means that the birch pollen is likely to be released earlier than normal – possibly in central and southern areas later on this month.

    ‘Tree pollen occurs first, typically until mid-May, and affects around 25% of people.

    ‘Most people are allergic to grass pollen, which actually has two peaks, and the season lasts until July.

    ‘Weed pollen can be released at any time but the season typically covers the end of June to September.’

    Depending on where you live in the UK, you might get away with a shorter hay fever season.

    Those in the south will see their headaches start earlier, thanks to the warmer temperatures.

    If you know you struggle with tree pollen, now is the time to prepare and get your supplies ready.

    While you can’t prevent a reaction, you can keep the symptoms under control using over the counter remedies.

    Many people report a scratchy throat or runny nose as the most common or sometimes the only symptom they have.

    So if you don’t usually suffer from hay fever, or you want to be sure what you might have, it’s best to take a Covid test too.

    Allergy UK said ‘If people start to become symptomatic they should start taking their medications early so they will be most effective when the pollen levels really peak.

    ‘If they have them already that is great, otherwise talk to a pharmacist who will be able to help.’

    The MET Office will be starting their pollen count from tomorrow.

     Hay fever symptoms tend to be worst around 11am and 6pm, and this is because pollen is at nose level.

    Pollen starts off on the ground at the beginning of the day, at 8am when the pollen is all sitting on the grass.

    As the day warms up and the grass warms up, the pollen particles are shed and rise up in the air.

    At about 11am, they’re at nose level — 5 ft off the ground.

    The pollen then goes very high up into the atmosphere and then, as it cools down during the course of the day, the pollen grains come down to earth again and at about 6pm they tend to be back at nose level.

    According to the International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, high pollen levels can affect anxiety levels in people with recurrent mood disorders, such as bipolar. 

    The pollen season can start as early as January and end as late as November. Our pollen forecast is now live, click to find the latest Pollen forecast. 

    Humans are not the only animals to get hay fever, though it does affect about one in five people, pets can also suffer from the allergy.

    The pollen season may also lasts longer than you may think, sometimes starting as early as January and ending as late as November.

    Rain is not always good news for sufferers, as it helps the grass grow well and if it’s followed by dry weather there will be higher levels of pollen in the near future.

    Urban areas normally have lower pollen counts than the countryside, although high levels of air pollution in the city centre can bring on hay fever symptoms. 

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