Very high pollen levels are set to hit parts of the UK this week and over the weekend resulting in "the worst week of the year" so far for hay fever. 

Weather will stay fine and across the UK for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

The Met Office said while people were enjoying the dry, settled weather it did increase pollen levels, which are currently "high across the south of the UK" but remain moderate to low in more northern areas of the country.

"Very high" pollen levels are forecast for areas of the UK from today.

What is the pollen count across the UK this week?

London and the South of England, as well as part of Wales, are already experiencing "very high" pollen levels and will do so through until the weekend. 

Other areas in the UK that will see "very high" pollen forecasts this week include South West England and West Midlands. ​

While areas including North West and East England will experience "high" pollen levels this week. 

To see the full weekly pollen forecast, visit the Met Office website.

Worst week of 2023 for hay fever

Allergens expert Max Wiseberg, from HayMax, said if the pollen levels were as predicted this week will be the worst week so far in 2023 for hay fever. 

Mr Wiseberg said: "Hay fever is estimated to affect almost half the UK population, with 95% of sufferers affected by grass pollen.

"So this is probably the worst week of the year so far for hay fever in the South West, as many sufferers start to experience symptoms when the count reaches ‘medium’, but particularly so when they are ‘very high’.

"Counts will be higher near to large sources of pollen, including parks and hay meadows.”

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergy caused by pollen grains released during the pollen season which normally runs from March to November in the UK according to The Met Office. 

Common hay fever symptoms include:

  • Sneezing,
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy eyes, mouth and throat

Less common hay fever symptoms include headaches and hives.

The Leader: Pollen levels are expected to remain moderate to low in northern areas of the UK.Pollen levels are expected to remain moderate to low in northern areas of the UK. (Image: PA)

Hay fever relief

It is very difficult to avoid exposure to pollen. 

However, according to the NHS, there are a number of measures you can take that will help you to minimise exposure and ease the severity of your hay fever symptoms:

  • Put Vaseline around your nostrils
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses
  • Shower and change your clothes after you have been outside
  • Stay indoors whenever possible
  • Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
  • Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
  • Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter

Pharmacists and GPs can also help relieve hay fever symptoms.

What the Met Office said about the weekly forecast

The Met Office said weather conditions will stay fine and dry for the "vast majority" of the UK this week.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Paul Gundersen, said: “As with last week, the sunniest and warmest weather will be to the west of the UK with cooler, cloudier conditions persisting in the east for the next few days.

"The cloud will push inland across the country overnight, burning back to the east coast by day.

“Cloud amounts may vary day to day which will affect the feel of the weather in some areas.

"There is a small risk of an isolated shower across northern areas on Wednesday.”

The Met Office added UV levels are also predicted to be at their highest levels of 2023 this week.