Mild spell triggers hayfever hell as pollen count soars
THE recent spell of mild weather is a sure sign that spring has arrived but unfortunately for some, so has the early bout of hayfever.
And along with it come the dreaded runny noses, itchy throats and watery eyes.
As many as 80pc of Irish people with asthma suffer from allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hayfever.
Frances Guiney, the Director of Nursing with the Asthma Society of Ireland, said that it was "average" for people to be feeling the first wave of hayfever around now.
"This year's first wave of hayfever is not particularly early. It's very hard to dictate when it is going to occur. But certainly we have seen the trend over the last few years that it is earlier and earlier.
"We don't know the exact start date for the main pollen season and it is dependent on many factors, including the winter weather conditions," she explained. She said that the mild weather we have experienced over the last number of days can be one of the main triggers of symptoms associated with hayfever.
"A percentage of people who have hayfever will be affected by early flowering trees and that is what we are seeing now.
"The warm and dry weather over the last few days would provide perfect conditions for the first wave of early flowering trees to release pollen into the air. People are cutting lawns much earlier due to the warm weather and dry conditions and this will also have an effect on people with hayfever."
She is recommending that people who experience many of the common symptoms – including itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing – should get a proper diagnosis as "it can be quite bothersome".
"I recommend that people get a proper diagnosis. That is huge. Then they should get the appropriate treatment. They need more than an antihistamine," she warned.
"They need additional treatment. They should cater the treatment according to the symptoms, and start treatment early."