There may not be a bale of hay in sight, but that won't protect your poor nose, throat and eyes from sneezing, streaming and itching. If you are one of the UK's 16 million hay fever sufferers, then you'll want to put down the sun bloc, and get ready for one of the highest pollen counts in half a century.
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit Director Prof Roy Kennedy told The Daily Mail: "Pollen levels have been depressed in recent weeks but will probably go to their highest level of the year this week as temperatures get warmer. June is due the highest pollen levels for 50 years as tree and grass pollen levels rocket after being stunted by the cold spring."
The key, Lindsey McManus, Deputy Chief Executive for Allergy UK says, is to be prepared. Talking to the HuffPost UK, she said: "Make sure you're taking the right medications, and take them regularly. Don't wait until you start sneezing.
"Invest in a good pair of wraparound sunglasses, smear of nasal balm along your nose and make sure you wash your hair and change your clothes before you go into your bedroom so you aren’t sleeping in the pollen you've collected through the day. Another tip is to not hang your washing out at dawn and dusk, because that's when pollen counts are at their highest."
TOP TIP FROM DR ROSEMARY: "Rubbing petroleum jelly at the entrance to your nostrils can help to trap pollen. If you find it greasy, or don't like the smell, alternatives based on beeswax are available."
Citydwellers aren't immune either, in fact, we're equally prone because pollen is carried in diesel fumes.
If it isn't managed properly, hayfever can interfere with your sleep and concentration.
Here are five top tips to stay on top of it:
1.Netdoctor reported that 72% of hay fever sufferers would like a natural alternative to taking pills. Whatever your thoughts are on homeopathy, the sites recommends the Vogel Luffa Complex spray, which harnesses seven anti-allergy herbs.
2. Think of sea salt nasal spray as having a part of the sea up your nose. It's a brilliant decongestant and can be prescribed on the NHS. Sterimaris a top brand and can also be used for bad or chronic snorers.
3. Once you stop sneezing, you might be beating your head against the wall that you have to contend with hay fever yet again, with no end in sight. But a possible 'cure' being touted is immunotherapy, which works by desensitising the body to allergies over time. This is administered most commonly by injection. It's expensive, and you'll only be able to get it on the NHS if you get referred. It usually only applies to severe hayfever or people with hayfever and other allergies.
4. The best form of daily treatment is to combine a spray with an antihistamine tablet. Antihistamines work by blocking the chemical histamine, which is released by the body when it thinks it's under attack, and sprays have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Read on for the best foods to fight allergies:
Foods That Fight Allergies
The anthocyanin compound, found in purplish-red coloured food like beetroots, berries, red grapes and cherries, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which help fight allergies.
Turmeric, the yellow-coloured spice commonly found in hot curries, is a great way to ward off pesky allergies. Previous research discovered turmeric has super strength antioxidant qualities which work just as well as anti-inflammatory-rich foods when fighting allergy attacks on the body.
Lemons contain high levels of hesperetin, a potent phytonutrient which packs a powerful antioxidant punch when it comes to beating allergies. It's also a great anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and even lowers cholesterol as an added health boost. These are especially useful for hay fever because of its antihistamine qualities.
Quercetin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine which helps ward off allergy symptoms like histamine-induced sinus congestion and runny eyes and noses - all common with hay fever. This is because quercetin is believed to help lung function and reduces the risk of lung infection. Add onions to every meal, along with other quercetin-rich foods like apples, parsley, citrus fruits and black tea.
Mango: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a great way to keep your immune system in greet shape so that allures have less chance of ruining good health. Mango's are a great alternative if you find oranges too bitter.
These, along with quercetin, are great for providing the body with natural antihistamine which helps prevent the release of histamine which causes allergies to attack. They also boast impressive anti-inflammatory compounds. Garlic is a great way to boost your flavonoid intake as well as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/19/flavonoid-rich-foods-reduce-heart-disease-diabetes_n_1216378.html" target="_hplink">these flavonoid-rich foods</a>.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are thought to reduce allergic reactions through their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in such foods as cold-water fish (think salmon), and walnuts.