The charity Asthma and Lung UK has said that more than three million people in the UK have lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are at risk of attacks or flare-ups.
The warning comes after the news that the Met Office predicts high pollen levels from Friday across most of England and Wales and medium levels in other parts of the UK.
The charity is advising people to carry their preventer inhalers if they use them and to keep their reliever inhalers with them at all times.
High Pollen warning to Asthma sufferers
Have you been sneezing this week? ?
There are high levels of tree #pollen, especially for England and Wales and some grass pollen in the south ?
— Met Office (@metoffice) May 12, 2022
It has also shared some tips on how to get through the high-pollen period from staying indoors when levels are high and keeping an eye on weather forecasts.
Pollen is known to trigger symptoms such as a tight chest, wheezing and breathlessness in more than half of people living with asthma (59%), the charity's research says.
The symptoms are also linked with more than a quarter of those living with COPD, according to research from the charity.
Allergies can lead to the tightening of airways and a build-up of sticky mucus which makes it harder to breathe.
Asthma attacks can also be fatal, with around four people in the UK dying from one every day.
Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead for Asthma and Lung UK, said: “When pollen levels are at their highest this can be deadly for those with lung conditions like asthma who can suffer serious symptoms and have life-threatening attacks.
“These attacks can leave people fighting for breath, which can be terrifying, but there are things they can do to look after themselves.
“Using your preventer inhalers as prescribed is important as the medicine reduces sensitivity and swelling in the airways, helping to prevent symptoms such as wheezing and coughing before they even start.
“We also advise people to carry their reliever inhalers every day, especially when they are out and about enjoying the sunshine in case pollen does cause a flare-up of their symptoms.
“Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles in the airways and ease symptoms immediately.
“The third thing people can do is to use a steroid nasal spray every day, together with non-drowsy antihistamine tablets to help stop the allergic reaction.
“People should also check pollen and air pollution forecasts in their local area, so they can avoid going outdoors as much as possible on high pollen days.”