Warmer weather may wreak havoc with hay fever symptoms, with rising temperatures causing tree pollen levels to spike, new research suggests.
The first week of spring will see dry, sunny weather and daytime temperatures in the mid to late teens for the coming week, according to the Met Office.
Climate change may be leading to an extension of the grass and tree pollen season and causing it to start earlier.
Jin Zhang, global medical director at Kimberly-Clark UK, said: “When temperatures rise, primary sources of pollutants tend to increase, making the air quality even more challenging for millions of hay fever sufferers.
“As such, global warming will likely cause pollen seasons to start earlier and last longer.”
A survey found people who suffer from hay fever believe pollution (64%), rising temperatures (52%) and extreme weather conditions (38%) are the biggest environmental factors impacting their allergies.
The new research from Kleenex surveyed 2,000 people in the UK with hay fever and found that over the past 12 months many have experienced their symptoms getting worse.
This includes sneezing (72%), itchy eyes (64%) and a runny nose (48%).
One third of those polled admitted to staying indoors because their allergies are too severe, while 12% said they have called in sick to work.
The survey found that on average, increased symptoms for allergy sufferers meant they lost two hours sleep a night and 33% of those surveyed said they avoid local parks and green spaces.
A quarter (25%) wrongly self-diagnosed their hay fever symptoms for COVID-19.
More than half (58%) of allergy sufferers did not know what pollen they were allergic to, and only a fifth (20%) recognized their symptoms for what they are.
Amena Warner, head of clinical services at the charity Allergy UK, said: “Living with allergies and maintaining a quality of life is not always easy.
“Enjoying everyday activities can become a real struggle.
“With the realities that warmer weather brings, it is crucial that allergy sufferers be given the advice, support, and tools to manage their symptoms whilst staying active and healthy.”
Kleenex has developed new technology enhancing its pollen forecast with information up to five days in advance.
People can also take a quiz to get a better idea of what affects them and give a better understanding of their allergies.