MILLIONS of people have been warned of life-threatening consequences as the pollen strikes.

People with asthma are at risk of deadly attacks when the pollen count rises - with high levels set for the weekend.

Pollen can make the airways of those with asthma tighter


Pollen can make the airways of those with asthma tighterCredit: Alamy

Asthma and Lung UK said 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 Met Office is predicting high pollen levels across most of England and Wales from Friday, with medium levels in other parts of the UK.

People with hay fever can expect symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy eyes to pick up.

But more than half of people living with asthma (59 per cent) say pollen can trigger symptoms such as a tight chest, wheezing and breathlessness.

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A further quarter of those living with COPD say the same, according to research from the charity.

Allergies can cause airways to tighten up and a build-up of sticky mucus, making it harder to breathe.

Asthma attacks can be fatal - around four people in the UK die 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.”

The charity is telling people to ensure they keep on taking their preventer inhalers if they use them, as this reduces sensitivity and swelling in the airways.

People with the condition have also been told to keep their reliever inhaler with them at all times, especially when out and about.

Dr Whittamore said: “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.

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

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People with asthma are also cautioned they should be extra vigilant when the weather warms up.

Thunderstorms and wet weather can combine with pollen to heighten asthma symptoms, and potentially trigger an attack.

What to do if you have an asthma attack

You are having an asthma attack if you notice any of the following:

  • Your reliever inhaler (usually blue) is not helping or lasting for four hours
  • Your symptoms are getting worse - think coughing, breathlessness, wheezing, coughing at night or a tight chest
  • You are too breathless to speak, eat or sleep, or it is difficult to do any of these things
  • Your breathing is getting faster, and it feels like you can’t get your breath in properly

Knowing these four steps could be the difference between life and death, Sonia Munde, from Asthma UK, previously told The Sun Online.

  1. Sit up straight and try to keep calm
  2. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30 – 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs
  3. If you feel worse at any point while using your inhaler or you don’t feel better after 10 puffs, or you are worried at any time, call 999 for an ambulance
  4. If the ambulance is taking longer than 15 minutes, you can repeat step two

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