Sniffly Brits asked the NHS for hay fever advice every three seconds on Sunday, officials have said.
It comes after pollen levels surpassed ‘very high’ levels across the country over the weekend, causing misery for millions trying to make the most of the UK’s Caribbean heat wave.
But officials have warned that the ‘pollen bomb’ is expected to last all week – with every part of England under red alert until Saturday.
NHS England, which runs the website NHS.uk, said there were 122,650 visits to the hay fever section of the website last week.
In the first week of May, there were only 35,000 visits.
Pollen counts will rise to ‘very high’ levels in England and Wales in the coming days, the Met Office said.
Sunday was the busiest day of the week, with 27,834 visits in 24 hours. This is the equivalent of one every 3.1 seconds.
“Many of us experience hay fever symptoms at this time of year,” says Robert Cleary, NHS England’s content director for the NHS website.
‘And the nhs.uk hay fever advice page offers the latest medical advice to manage your symptoms, as well as advice on when to get support from NHS services.’
With the pollen bomb in full swing, medical charities are urging patients with asthma and conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to ensure they are taking medication and have their inhalers with them.
Hay fever usually causes red, sore, watery, itchy eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing.
But when combined with asthma or lung disease, it can lead to shortness of breath and wheezing.
Charity Asthma and Lung said nearly half (47.1 per cent) of the 5 million Britons with asthma and more than a quarter (27.4 per cent) of the 1.3 million with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are caused by pollen.
ALUK’s Emma Rubach said the pollen bomb would likely be “very problematic” for people with lung conditions.
Ms Rubach said rain can cause pollen to break down into smaller particles, meaning they can be inhaled more deeply into the lungs.
She said: ‘We also recommend staying indoors or in shady areas on very hot days and staying cool with plenty of cold drinks and cool showers.
A man cycling past the Aire and Calder navigation, at Woodlesford in Leeds, enjoying the warm weather
A view of the Aire and Calder Navigation, where Britons soak up the sun on their riverboats at Woodlesford in Leeds
People braved the heat and exercised this morning in Greenwich Park, South East London
Many Britons enjoy the sunny weather while walking along canals and rivers with their beloved pets
“Inhaler medications may not work as well when exposed to direct sunlight, so make sure these are kept in a cool, dry place at home and in a dry cooler bag when outside.”
She added that pollen “can trigger asthma attacks that can be terrifying, leaving people fighting to breathe.” This can be deadly and around four people die from an asthma attack every day in the UK.’
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: ‘Now that it’s so dry in the UK it means grasses can shed pollen.
“For patients, hay fever has been a hallmark for the past few days and will continue to be a hallmark for patients in the coming days and weeks.”
He said only significant and heavy rainfall – rather than showers – could wash such high pollen levels from the atmosphere.
According to Asthma UK, around 95 percent of hay fever sufferers are caused by the grass pollen season, which is usually highest between mid-May and July.
Yesterday the temperature reached 28C after recording 32C on Saturday and Sunday.
The current heat warning, which warns people to check on friends and relatives who may be vulnerable, will last until tomorrow.
After more heavy showers today, thunderstorms remain possible for tomorrow, but become less likely later in the week.