People with asthma urged to take precautions as pollen…

Map reveals Britain’s biggest hay fever hotspots: Met Office warns of high pollen levels from TODAY – as experts say ‘could be deadly’ for millions people with asthma and lung disease

  • The Met Office predicts high levels across England and Wales today, Saturday
  • Pollen levels will remain high in Wales until Sunday but drop slightly in England
  • More than 3 million people in the UK have lung conditions that could suffer flare-ups

Millions of Britons with asthma, lung disease or hay fever have been warned that high levels of pollen this weekend could put them at risk.

The Met Office predicts high levels across all parts of England and Wales today and Saturday, with average levels across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Pollen levels are expected to remain high in Wales until Sunday, but are expected to fall to an average level in all parts of England except the South West.

The charity Asthma and Lung UK said more than three million people in the UK had lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who were at risk of having attacks or flare-ups.

People are advised to ensure they continue to take their preventer inhalers if they use them and to keep the inhaler with them at all times.

Other tips include staying indoors on high pollen days and keeping an eye on the weather forecast to check the forecast.

Pollen can trigger symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath in more than half of people with asthma (59%) and more than a quarter of those living with COPD, study finds of the charity.

The Met Office predicts high levels across all parts of England and Wales today and Saturday

Average levels are expected in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Saturday

Average levels are expected in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Saturday

Pollen levels are expected to remain high in Wales until Sunday, but are expected to fall to an average level in all parts of England except the South West.

Pollen levels are expected to remain high in Wales until Sunday, but are expected to fall to an average level in all parts of England except the South West.

Asthma attacks can be deadly, with around four people in the UK dying from them every day.

Allergies can cause the airways to constrict and sticky mucus to build up, making it harder to breathe.

Hay fever tablets are in short supply across the country due to a shortage of ingredients

Hay fever tablets are on the decline across the country due to an ingredient shortage – and the timing couldn’t be worse as pollen levels rise.

Supplies of chlorphenamine maleate – an active ingredient in the drug Piriton and other similar remedies – are largely limited.

Piriton tablets for adults are out of stock online at Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and Coop Pharmacy, although their children’s syrups are still available.

It comes as drug shortages in England reach their worst ever level, with HRT, steroids and blood pressure medication also affected.

Around 500,000 patients in England are being stung by shortages, which have been blamed on rising raw material costs, changes to post-Brexit trade rules and Covid lockdowns in China.

The shortages appear to be only for medicines containing chlorphenamine maleate, with other types of antihistamines being more readily available.

It is understood that tablets containing cetirizine hydrochloride are in good supply, including Allacan, Benadryl, Piriteze and own-brand varieties.

Cetirizine and chlorphenamine can be used to treat hay fever, but people often find that one suits them better, according to the NHS.

Medicines using cetirizine hydrochloride are less likely to make someone drowsy as a side effect.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead for Asthma and Lung UK, said: ‘When pollen levels are at their highest it can be deadly for people with lung conditions like asthma who can suffer severe symptoms and having life-threatening seizures.

“These attacks can leave people struggling to breathe, which can be terrifying, but there are things they can do to take care of themselves.

“Using your preventer inhalers as prescribed is important because the medicine reduces airway tenderness and swelling, helping to prevent symptoms such as wheezing and coughing before they even start.

“We also advise people to carry their rescue inhalers every day, especially when they are outside enjoying the sun in case the pollen causes their symptoms to flare up.

“Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles of the airways and immediately alleviate symptoms.

“The third thing people can do is use a steroid nasal spray every day, along with non-drowsy antihistamine tablets to help stop the allergic reaction.”

“People should also check the pollen and air pollution forecast for their area, to avoid going outside on high pollen days as much as possible.”

High pollen levels could also cause misery for millions of hay fever sufferers, who suffer from runny noses and itchy eyes.

Hay fever can last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which normally goes away within a week.

Hay fever symptoms begin when immune cells, B cells, mistakenly identify pollen proteins as a threat and make antibodies that trigger chemicals called histamines.

These cause the blood vessels to dilate, causing the release of fluid from the capillaries, triggering a runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes.

There is currently no cure and hay fever tablets are in short supply across the country due to a shortage of ingredients.

Supplies of chlorphenamine maleate – an active ingredient in the drug Piriton and other similar remedies – are largely limited.

Piriton tablets for adults are out of stock online at Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and Coop Pharmacy, although their children’s syrups are still available.

But the NHS says there are things people can do to ease their symptoms when the pollen count is high this weekend.

These include putting petroleum jelly around your nostrils to trap pollen, wearing wrap-around sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes, showering and changing clothes after being outdoors. outside to wash away the pollen.

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