Warning to hay fever sufferers as larger pollen bombs will trigger unpleasant eye conditions

Hay fever sufferers are braced for longer and heavier seasons that will trigger eye problems, a GP has warned.

A recent study found that between 1990 and 2018, the pollen season lengthened by 20 days and grew 21 percent stronger.

People with hay fever can also suffer from eye diseases


People with hay fever can also suffer from eye diseasesPhoto credit: Getty

Not only will this cause more spring and summer hell for pollen-sensitive people, but it has other health implications as well.

dr Nisa Aslam, GP works with gold eyeHe said: “I think we can predict that the hay fever season will be longer and longer
intense this summer.

“Pollen affects people in different ways with symptoms centered on sneezing, coughing, stuffy noses and itchy red eyes.

“And as the pollen season lengthens and intensifies, we can predict an increase in eye inflammation and eye infections like conjunctivitis.

“Eyes are very sensitive and people affected by pollen will find their eyes become red, itchy, watery and swollen.

“This is caused by an immunoglobulin (IgE) and histamine, both of which are produced in response to pollen exposure.

“The temptation here is to constantly touch or rub the eye to get relief, but this can lead to further problems for the eye.

“If we touch our eyes, we leave them open to other eye problems or infections like styes, conjunctivitis or blepharitis.”

Tree pollen is the first type of powder to explode in the UK, which causes symptoms of hay fever from March to mid-May.

Around a quarter of people with hay fever are allergic to tree pollen, the Met Office says — about 2.5 million people.

Grass pollen takes over from mid-May to July, followed by weed pollen from June to September.

Grass pollen is the most common allergy associated with hay fever and causes distress during the summer months.

On sunny days, pollen levels are highest in the early evening and that’s when you’re most likely to suffer from hay fever symptoms, says the Met Office.

Hay fever season begins when Covid cases are still high and many of their symptoms overlap.

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of hay fever are:

  • sneezing and coughing
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • loss of smell
  • Pain around your temples and forehead
  • headache
  • earache
  • feeling tired

If you have asthma, you might also:

  • Have a tight feeling in my chest
  • be short of breath
  • wheezing and coughing

Prof. Maureen Baker, Chief Medical Officer for Healthya Symptom Checker Platformpreviously told The Sun: “Some people get hay fever symptoms for the first time and when you start out with a runny nose and sneezing it’s certainly perfectly reasonable to think it could be Covid.

“But if they don’t feel sick, and Medication for hay fever helps, it’s probably just hay fever.”

dr Nisa Aslam added: “Be prepared. It is important to know what type of pollen is affecting your eyes.

“But also know that this summer could result in your eyes being more affected than in previous years.”

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They recommend:

  • Wear glasses instead of contact lenses or wear daily contact lenses to reduce the build-up of allergens on your lenses.
  • If you don’t wear glasses, protect your eyes from outdoor allergens by wearing wrap-around sunglasses. Sunglasses can reduce the amount of pollen getting into your eyes by deflecting pollen-carrying air currents
  • Keep your eyes clean. Remove or dilute any pollen grains that get in your eyes. Wash your eyes with clean water or artificial tears available at your pharmacy to flush them over the air
  • allergens from the eyes. Always shower before bed, then gently cleanse your eyelids to remove pollen that could cause irritation while you sleep.
  • Don’t touch your eyes if they itch, even if it’s tempting. Hands come into contact with most things, making it easy for germs and bacteria to be transferred to the eyes, increasing the risk of infection.

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