Those suffering from hay fever are ready for a weekend of misery, as an expert has warned that storms could trigger “thunder fever”.
Pollen counts are expected to be “very high” throughout the weekend in the UK as the Met Office has forecast rain and thunderstorms.
Thunder fever occurs when hay fever symptoms are made worse by thunderstorms.
And thunderstorms are expected to hit parts of sunny England at 8 p.m. tonight and last through the weekend.
Two yellow thunderstorm warnings are in place for Saturday and Sunday, which will send the pollen count off the charts.
Government meteorologists have issued warnings of torrents of rain, flash floods, power outages and travel chaos.
The Met Office alert in southern and central England remains in effect until Monday morning with up to four inches likely to flood the region.
Meteorologist David Oliver said: “This yellow rain warning comes as temperatures are expected to drop in many areas over the weekend.
“A wave of rain, heavy in places with perhaps thunder, arrives from the southwest on Friday late and into Saturday.
“Very heavy showers or thunderstorms are to be expected, especially on Sunday.”
Airborne allergen expert and creator of HayMax Allergen Barrier Balm, Max Wiseberg explained, “While many people associate rain and thunderstorms with reduced pollen counts, it doesn’t always happen.
“Thunderstorms can actually have the opposite effect – making your hay fever even worse. This reaction to inclement weather is known as “thunder fever”.
No one is 100% sure how Thunder Fever works, but there are some solid theories that make sense when added up.
Mr Wiseberg said: “There has been a lot of research on thunder fever and according to a report in The European Respiratory Review, moisture breaks up pollen grains into smaller allergenic particles.
“So a grain of pollen becomes two, which instantly increases the number of pollens.
“But these new pollen grains also turn into a kind of ‘super pollen’ which appears to be more allergenic than normal pollen, causing more severe reactions in those affected.”
Storms cause great movements in the air, both bringing pollen grains that might have risen above the height of the head out of harm’s way, and whipping up pollen grains and fungus spores near of the ground.
Mr Wiseberg added: “To make matters worse, farmers will often work hard to harvest their fields before a storm that further increases the level of allergens in the air.
“And don’t think living in the city will spare you that either; the storm can pick up all that pollen and carry it for miles before dumping it at head level into the city.
When thunder fever hits, you can treat the symptoms the same way as hay fever.
Mr. Wiseberg recommends putting together your own hay fever first aid kit.
He said: “It consists of one or more natural products such as HayMax, an antihistamine such as Piriteze, a nasal spray such as Beconase and eye drops such as Optrex.
“The interesting thing about this is that a lot of these remedies can be complementary to each other.
“So if one of them helps, but doesn’t do all the work, you might be able to try other remedies at the same time and get a better result. “
Don’t get too crazy with the remedies though! There are three simple rules to follow.
Mr Wiseberg warned, “Never take two antihistamines together and never take two steroid nasal sprays together.
“Always consult your pharmacist or doctor if you are already taking any other medication. “