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Asthma sufferers at risk of 'life-threatening' attacks from high pollen levels

By Jane Kirby & Ketsuda Phoutinane

People with asthma are at risk of 'life-threatening' attacks when pollen levels are high, a charity has warned.

Asthma and Lung UK is telling asthma sufferers to have a reliever inhaler on hand at all times and to continue using preventer inhalers.

The charity says 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.

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

The Met Office is predicting medium levels of pollen in Scotland and high levels across most of England and Wales from Friday.

Pollen can trigger symptoms such as a tight chest, wheezing and breathlessness in more than half of people living with asthma (59%) and more than a quarter of those living with COPD, according to research from the charity.

High pollen levels could cause asthma attacks (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Asthma attacks can 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."

He continued: "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."

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Dive Deeper:
Fears for life-threatening asthma attacks as pollen levels spike in parts of UK
More than three million people in the UK have lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and…
High pollen levels this weekend ‘could be deadly’ for asthma sufferers, charity warns
Asthma and Lung UK issues warning to millions of sufferers and urge people to take precautions
People with asthma urged to take precautions as pollen levels rise
The Met Office is predicting high pollen levels across most of England and Wales from Friday, with medium levels in…
Hay fever warning in UK amid high pollen levels this weekend
Charity Asthma and Lung UK is advising people with asthma and COPD to take action
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Pollen levels prompt warning to UK asthma and hay fever sufferers
Met Office is predicting high pollen levels across England and Wales and medium levels elsewhere
Asthma and hay fever sufferers urged to take extra care as pollen levels soar
More than half of people with asthma could be at risk of asthma attacks as hay fever season strikes, warns…
Get all your news in one place