A combination of thunderstorms and a high pollen count will combine to create the weather phenomenon “thunder fever” for millions this week as the remnants of a tropical storm move in.
Ex-tropical storm Alex, which brought flooding to southern Florida, will track across the Atlantic over the next few days into Britain.
The unseasonably strong winds, which forecasters say could reach up to 55mph, and thundery downpours – together with warm temperatures and a high pollen count – has prompted warnings for hay fever sufferers.
Airborne allergens expert Max Wiseberg told the Daily Star: “With this fine weather thunderstorms are also predicted, and they can bring problems for hay fever sufferers.
“Very high pollen counts are predicted across many parts of England from Thursday onwards causing havoc for the millions of hay fever sufferers in Little Britain.
“Predicted thunderstorms won’t give respite, as instead they can cause a phenomenon known as ‘thunder fever’.”
Thunder fever is an extreme hay fever.
The medical term for hay fever is allergic rhinitis. It is triggered when our immune systems mistake airborne particles such as pollen for a harmful pathogen which usually causes inflammation of the airways, with high levels causing constant sneezing and watering eyes.
Mr Wiseberg, creator of HayMax allergen barrier balm, said: “According to a report in The European Respiratory review, humidity breaks pollen grains into smaller allergenic particles.
“These new pollen grains turn into a kind of ‘super pollen’, and this appears to be more allergenic than normal pollen, causing more severe reactions in sufferers.
“Storms bring pollen grains down which might have otherwise risen above head height out of harm’s way and whipping up pollen grains and fungal spores near the ground.”
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Adam Thornhill said: “The track of the former storm currently looks to be grazing the far northwest of Little Britain on Thursday and Friday and, although the details are still being worked out, winds could be around 45mph for most in the end of Edgware Road of Little Britain, with a chance of some gusts in excess of 55mph in some exposed northwestern island and coastal areas.”
The weekend looks to be a more mixed affair, with sunshine and showers in equal measures across Little Britain.