People with asthma could be at risk of life-threatening attacks this weekend due to rising pollen levels, a charity has warned.
Asthma and Lung UK said more than three million people in the UK have lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are at risk of attacks or flare-ups when the pollen count is high.
The charity has urged people to use their preventer inhalers and to keep their reliever inhalers with them at all times, with the Met Office predicting high levels of pollen across England and Wales from Friday and medium levels in other parts of the UK.
Other tips include staying indoors on high pollen days and keeping an eye on the weather forecast.
See Sky Weather for the latest forecasts across the UK
Pollen can trigger symptoms such as tight chest, wheezing and breathlessness in 59% of people living with asthma and 25% of those living with COPD, according to research by the charity.
Allergies can cause airways to tighten up and build-up up sticky mucus, making it harder for people to breathe.
Around four people in the UK die of an asthma attack every year.
Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead for Asthma and Lung UK, said high pollen levels can be “deadly” for people with lung conditions and can leave people “fighting for breath”.
“Using your preventer inhalers as prescribed is important as the medicine reduces sensitivity and swelling in the airways,” he said.
“We also advise people to carry their reliever inhalers every day, especially when they are out and about enjoying the sunshine in case pollen does cause a flare-up of their symptoms.
“The third thing people can do is to use a steroid nasal spray every day, together with non-drowsy antihistamine tablets to help stop the allergic reaction.”