ASTHMA and hay fever sufferers are being warned it could be a miserable weekend as pollen levels are set to rise to 'very high' across the south west.

The Met Office is predicting the pollen count will rise from 'high' in Swindon and the wider region today to 'very high' on both Friday and Saturday.

Tips include keeping doors and windows closed, just as the temperature is finally about to rise this weekend.

An Asthma UK spokesman added: "As summer finally gets going, there'll be high levels of grass pollen in the air on warm, sunny days.

"Don't be surprised if your hay fever symptoms are bad - around 90 per cent of people with hay fever are allergic to grass pollen.

"When grass pollen levels are high, more people are admitted to hospital with asthma attacks – that’s why taking your asthma and hay fever medicines as prescribed is so important."

Do I need to see my GP?

The common symptoms of hay fever are itchiness, runny eyes and a blocked nose.

If you also notice any of the following:

  • Feeling wheezy
  • Feeling breathless
  • Coughing more than usual
  • Needing to use your reliever inhaler three times a week or more

– then ask your GP for an urgent, next day appointment. By starting treatment quickly, you can get on top of your symptoms and reduce your risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

What you can do to cut your asthma risk from hay fever...

1. Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every day

Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles in your airways and ease your symptoms on the spot – but only for a short period of time.

For long term control, start using a preventer inhaler. Your GP can prescribe inhalers if you don’t have them.

2. Take your preventer inhaler as prescribed

Preventer inhalers reduce sensitivity and swelling in your airways, helping stop wheezing and coughing before they even start. Take consistently for best results.

3. Take antihistamine pills and sprays and/or use a steroid nasal spray

There are lots of different medicine options and it’s a question of finding out which ones suit you.

You can visit Asthma UK's treatment advice by clicking here or ask your pharmacist.

Tips for people with asthma or hay fever when the pollen count is high include:

  • Keep doors and windows closed when you're indoors
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes when you're outside.
  • Change your clothes and have a shower when you've been outside.
  • Don't cut the grass and avoid walking in grassy areas if you're allergic to grass pollen.
  • If possible, avoid drying your clothes outside as pollen will stick to them.
  • Remember that pollen counts are generally higher in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening, so it may be better to avoid being outside at these times if possible.
  • Alcohol can increase your sensitivity to pollen so it may be worth avoiding it when the pollen count is high and/or your symptoms are worse.

For more advice on cutting the risk of high pollen levels triggering an asthma attack visit