The number of people seeking advice for hay fever symptoms using the NHS website more than tripled last week – reaching 122,650 visits.
Visits to the hay fever web page increased by 252% in the past 5 weeks from 34,878 visits during the first week of May, according to an analysis by NHS England, which runs the NHS website.
The figures were published as the Met Office forecasted very high pollen levels in all regions of England and Wales.
Sunday was the busiest day of the year so far for people seeking advice about how to manage hay fever symptoms, with 27,834 visits to the NHS website's dedicated page over 24 hours – the equivalent of one search every 3 seconds.
Hay Fever Medication Searches
Robert Cleary, NHS England’s content director for the NHS website, said: "Many of us experience hay fever symptoms at this time of year and the nhs.uk hay fever advice page provides the latest medical advice to manage your symptoms, as well as giving guidance on when to get support from NHS services.
Further analysis of the website's recent search history revealed that visits to pages offering advice about antihistamines and cetirizine more than doubled, whilst visits to the fexofenadine page more than tripled, to reach 45,450 visits last week.
Most hay fever symptoms could be managed effectively at home or with medication widely available in supermarkets and community pharmacies, NHS England advised.
Mr Cleary said: “Millions of people make the NHS website their first port of call for advice and information on a wide range of conditions.
"The website is here for anyone 24 hours a day, making it easy for people to receive health advice and support from a trustworthy source around the clock."
High Pollen Levels and Hot Weather
The latest forecast from the Met Office showed very high pollen levels throughout England and Wales persisting until at least Saturday, with high levels in Northern Ireland and much of Scotland expected. It coincides with a prolonged period of hot weather for much of the country, particularly in central and western areas of England.
A yellow heat-health alert has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency until 0900 on Monday 19 June for the East Midlands, West Midlands, North East, North West, South East, South West, London, and Yorkshire and the Humber. The alert warns that significant impacts are possible across the health and social care sector due to high temperatures.