Sunday 18 August 2019

Pollen tracker launched for hayfever sufferers amid warning asthma deaths on the rise

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

ASTHMA and hayfever sufferers have been warned that pollen levels are on the rise and could lead to potentially fatal asthma attacks.

The Asthma Society issued the advice as they warned that asthma deaths are increasing here and a person dies every six days from the condition.

Today they launched a pollen tracker alongside Dyson Ireland to guide people about the pollen levels nationwide and give a forecast for the following day.

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “For the 300,800 people who have asthma and hayfever, hayfever can be particularly dangerous. Hayfever symptoms are capable of escalating an asthma attack, which in some cases can be fatal.

“Asthma deaths are rising in Ireland, with one person now dying every six days as a result of their asthma. In addition, people with hayfever experience symptoms which really compromise their quality of life and ability to enjoy the summer months.

“With the pollen count predicted to be high over the next few days, we are advising all people who have asthma and hayfever to make sure they take precautions and to follow our “top tips for surviving hayfever season” to ensure they do not suffer a fatal asthma attack.

“Our free Asthma and COPD Adviceline is also available on 1800 44 54 64 and allows you to speak to a respiratory specialist nurse who is trained in asthma and allergies, who will be able to advise you on managing your condition(s).”

Niamh O'Halloran almost died from an asthma attack and she says it's vital she keeps her hayfever under control.

“Most of my friends with hayfever experience the itchy watery eyes, runny nose and itchy throat, etc. But for me, as I have asthma and hayfever, symptoms can be a lot more serious.

“It is essential that I manage my hayfever to ensure it does not lead to a serious asthma attack.

“In my teenage years, I suffered an asthma attack because of my hayfever which nearly took my life and left me in hospital for over a week. It was a terrifying experience and I did not know if I was going to make it.”

As pollen levels soar during the summer months, Asthma Ireland issued some advice on how people can manage their symptoms:

  • Keep an eye on our daily pollen tracker on ie
  • Speak to a nurse on the Asthma Society’s free Joint Asthma and COPD Adviceline (1800 44 54 64) about putting a hayfever management plan in place
  • Talk to a doctor or pharmacist NOW about taking medication to prevent / reduce your symptoms. Don't wait until you feel unwell.
  • Keep windows shut in your bedroom at night
  • Keep windows and doors closed when the pollen count is high
  • Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days
  • Stay away from grassy areas, especially when grass is freshly cut
  • Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  • Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period
  • Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in
  • Minimise your contact with pets that have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen
  • Consider a purifier with a built-in air quality sensor to remove allergens and pollutants from the air

They also said that common symptoms to look out for include frequent sneezing, red and itchy eyes, headaches, fatigue and skin under the eyes being swollen and blue.

  • For more information please visit asthma.ie or call 1800 44 54 64

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