The recent warm weather has spelled misery for hay fever sufferers with a massive rise in the number of patients visiting their GP complaining about the condition.
The number of patients with hay fever symptoms or allergic rhinitis visiting GP surgeries in England and Wales during the week before last stood at 11,873 compared to 5,560 in the same period last year, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said.
The college said there had been a five-fold increase in cases in the past fortnight compared with the start of this month.
Hay fever is caused by allergy to pollens and symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. Sometimes the sinuses and throat can be affected.
Children aged five to 14 years are most affected, followed by people aged between 15 and 24 years old.
Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: " Each year, seasonal hay fever causes untold misery to thousands of people across the country, especially when we all want to enjoy the warm weather.
"Hay fever is awful but the discomfort should only be temporary and there should be no long-term effects.
"Whilst in some cases it may be necessary to see a doctor, especially if the symptoms persist, there are many anti-histamine medications that can be bought over the counter at your pharmacist that should provide effective relief.
"Patients that suffer from hay fever can also take simple steps to help minimise their exposure to pollen, such as wearing a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses, and applying Vaseline to nostrils to help trap pollen particles."