UK weather: Heatwave could hit next week - but there's a big catch for hayfever sufferers thanks to 'pollen bomb'

High levels of pollen are striking parts of the UK - bringing fresh misery for hayfever sufferers - with forecasts suggesting there could be a heatwave next week.

The Met Office has warned the pollen count will be very high in England for the next five days, extending to Wales and Northern Ireland from Saturday onwards.

By Monday, all but the northernmost parts of Scotland will be affected.

Asthma + Lung UK is urging people with respiratory conditions to take precautions in the week ahead.

The charity's research suggests pollen is a trigger for 47% of people with asthma, and 27% of those who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (also known as COPD).

This can cause symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness to flare up.

Erika Radford, the organisation's head of health advice, told Sky News: "When pollen particles are breathed in, they can cause inflammation in the airways and get into the lungs, making it harder for those with lung conditions to breathe. This can be terrifying."

Asthma sufferers have been urged to use their preventer inhaler every day as prescribed, and keep a reliever inhaler nearby at all times - even when at home.

Britons who suffer from hayfever can take antihistamines, ask their GP to prescribe a steroid nasal spray, and avoid going outside as much as possible on high pollen days.

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Other top tips for beating the pollen include:

• Not hanging your washing outdoors

• Having a shower when you've been outside

• Keeping windows and doors closed

• Vacuuming and wiping down surfaces regularly

• Taking antihistamines four weeks before symptoms start.

Allergy UK says face masks can help too - reducing the amount of pollen inhaled, and alleviating symptoms by increasing the temperature and humidity of air breathed in.

Eating apples and red onions has also been touted as a way of lowering histamine levels.

Heatwave on the horizon

Meanwhile, the Met Office is forecasting higher temperatures as we head into next week - with 30C (86F) possible in isolated spots.

While Friday and Saturday are looking less settled, fine conditions are set to return on Sunday, and temperatures could be in the mid-20s for many in the days that follow.

Check the five-day weather forecast where you are

Chief forecaster Neil Armstrong said: "Some central and southern areas are likely to see temperatures approaching the values needed for heatwave conditions.

"Heatwave conditions need to remain in situ for three consecutive days, and by the middle of next week it is possible that some parts of the UK could be reaching heatwave thresholds."

He anticipates "the finest conditions and highest temperatures so far this year" - but lower overnight temperatures are set to offer some respite for those who struggle with the heat.

Sky meteorologist Steff Gaulter added: "We've a plume of hot, humid air coming up from the south which will start to affect us from Sunday.

"This will bring a fair amount of cloud for some places, but in the sunniest spots we're likely to see temperatures of 27C on Sunday, 28C Monday and 29C on Tuesday and Wednesday. This might be a bit of a shock to some people after the rather lacklustre start to summer we've had so far!

"We're not all going to see these temperatures though and there will be some rain affecting the western parts. The highest temperatures look most likely in central and eastern England.

"Then on Wednesday, it looks like we'll see a thundery breakdown, but in weather terms this is still a long way off, so we'll have to keep you posted on that."