With two bank holiday weekends (and spring half-term holidays) coming up in May, NHS bosses are advising the nation’s 18 million hay fever sufferers to stock up on remedies now, so that high pollen levels don’t spoil days spent out and about.
Their reminder was issued as the Met Office, which produces regular pollen forecasts, confirmed that spring was delayed by ‘The Beast from the East’ last month. The Met Office said that trees are now making up for lost time, which will mean more trees flowering together. This will send pollen levels soaring and has the potential to bring misery to hay fever sufferers who aren’t prepared.
Dr Preeti Shukla, Clinical Lead at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG said:
“For many people, the May bank holidays offer the first opportunities in months to get out in the fresh air and do something active.
“This is great for health and wellbeing and we actively encourage it. There’s no need for hay fever sufferers to shut themselves indoors because pollen counts are high. We’re hoping that advance warning of higher than usual pollen levels will help people to get ready and make sure they can enjoy their well-earned breaks.”
The NHS advice is to visit your local pharmacist, who can provide your usual treatments and also advise on newly developed ones that might suit your symptoms better. He or she can also suggest sensible precautions you can take to reduce symptoms, such as:
- wearing sunglasses when you go outside, to stop pollen reaching your eyes
- not drying washing outside when pollen levels are high
- showering and changing your clothes after you’ve been outside, to wash pollen away.
Your local pharmacy is also the best place to re-stock your home medicine cabinet with treatments for other minor ailments that might develop over the holiday weekend. These include:
- plasters for cuts and scrapes
- antiseptic wipes and creams
- painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen – and Calpol or ibuprofen suspensions for youngsters
- remedies for diarrhoea or constipation.
You can fill your medicine cabinet for less than £10*, and your local pharmacist can help you select the items you need.
If you do need help unexpectedly, GP surgeries will be closed over the bank holidays but local pharmacies will be open – for information on which ones you can visit over the weekend please visit
If you need further information, go to the NHS Choices website or call NHS 111 for help from specialist advisers who can direct you to the right place.