Millions of motorists who suffer from hay fever are being warned to take extra care when driving as allergy experts predict weeks of misery ahead.
The arrival of summer sun and higher temperatures after the coldest spring for 50 years will mean an explosion of pollen from grass and trees.
Allergy UK’s Director of Clinical Services, Maureen Jenkins said: “Grass pollen is now beginning to spread - taking up to four weeks from the onset of pollination to blanket the UK from the south to the far north.”
“In addition, trees that pollenate late, such as oak, will cause high pollen counts if the weather becomes hot and dry.
Some four million motorists suffer from hay fever and insurance companies estimate that 1.5 million of them have been involved in a small prang or near miss due to severe sneezing, watering eyes or drowsiness resulting from allergy medication.
Mre Jenkins added: “Preventative steps such as keeping car windows closed and using air conditioning to remain cool, in conjunction with nasal sprays, eye drops and, for those with minimal or intermittent symptoms, a once-daily, non-sedating anti-histamine can make a big difference.”
Expert tips for hay fever sufferers include:
* Keep car windows closed and the air intake on ‘re-circulate’ when driving,
* Choose a car that is fitted with an effective pollen filter, or get an in-car air filter,
* Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen grains reaching the eye,
* Start taking your hay fever remedies before the pollen starts to appear,
* Changing clothes and washing hair when arriving home to remove pollen helps those with significant hay fever,
* Keep house windows closed from early morning to late afternoon, as this is when pollen levels are at their highest,
* When pollen counts are high, dry washing inside.