Summer is fast approaching and many of us have been enjoying the warm and sunny weather over the last few weeks - however not everyone has been celebrating.

Many hay fever sufferers have been dealing with runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezing and other symptoms - with lots claiming that they're struggling this year more than usual.

Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September and grass pollen is currently in its peak season.

The pollen count is usually at its highest when it's warm, humid and windy and the Met Office has forecast "very high" pollen levels today and for much of next week.

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But what is it about 2021 that seems to be making hayfever worse?

A quick look at social media shows many people claiming their hay fever is "worse than ever", with some claiming they've had to seek extra help from doctors, and even hospitals.

Hay fever is particularly bad for many at the moment as the UK experienced predominantly wet weather in the past months, which led to a decrease in pollen concentration in the air.

But now that temperatures have gone up amid the country's heatwave, with the mercury reaching 29C on Monday, hay fever sufferers are seeing their symptoms worsen.

It happens because warm temperatures, largely between 18C and 28C, prompt more pollen to be released in the air.

But one expert claims there may be other reasons why people think they are suffering more than usual - and that's because of the Covid pandemic.

Holly Shaw, a nurse advisor for Allergy UK, says that she thinks people's perceptions of their symptoms has changed because we've spent so long inside in lockdown.

She told Radio One : "When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, we noticed that people came in saying their appointments had been delayed or postponed."

In her interview with Newsbeat, Holly blamed lockdown for meaning GPs could not attend to allergy issues.

She said: "They leant towards charities even more so to support them during that time.

"At the moment we're in the peak of a really nice warm spell, there are light winds - which is very favourable for moving pollen around - and we're having days of high pollen counts.

"So it isn't unusual for me to hear patients reporting their hay fever symptoms are really miserable."

What causes hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

According to the NHS, symptoms of hay fever include:

If you have asthma, you might also:

How can you treat yourself for hay fever?

At the moment there is no cure for hay fever and you can't prevent it.

However, there are some things you can do that may help ease your symptoms, says the NHS.

The NHS suggests:

The NHS also says sufferers should avoid cutting grass or walking on it, don't keep fresh flowers in the house, don't smoke or be around smoke.

It also advises against drying clothes outside as they can catch pollen and you should try not let pets into the house if possible as they can bring pollen inside.

LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Anshu Kaura says it is best to plan ahead.

“It's also advisable to avoid grassy areas, particularly in the early morning, evening or night, when the pollen count is highest.

“When it comes to treating allergies, you can opt for a targeted treatment, which can help relieve common symptoms, including itchy, watery eyes, such as LloydsPharmacy’s Fusion Allergy Eye Spray (£11.99),” she notes.

“If you experience a number of symptoms, an antihistamine tablet may be the best course of action. These stop the action of histamine, which is released during inflammatory process and causes the onset of symptoms.”

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