Lightning striking in the distance Lightning striking in the distance

What is thunder fever and how can it affect your hay fever?

3 mins

Whether you think you’re a thunder fever sufferer or you’ve never heard of it before, thunder fever and hay fever may actually go hand-in-hand.

The stormy days that follow a burst of hot weather may feel like sweet relief for patches of brown grass and the heavy humidity in the air. But for allergy sufferers, it can bring on a wave of hay fever symptoms. Read on to discover the main thunder hay fever symptoms and how to avoid them.

What is thunder fever?

When thunderstorms and a high pollen count collide, people with allergies experience the phenomenon known as thunder fever. This thunderstorm hay fever is a more intense version of hay fever and can cause symptoms like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Itchiness
  • Headaches
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness

We may think of hay fever as only being an issue during hot, sunny weather. But allergies don’t always get washed away in a storm. In fact, extreme weather can bring its own problems.

Thunder fever can feel more severe than hay fever for various reasons:

  • The moisture and extra humidity in the air that comes alongside a summer storm can cause the allergens to break down. This can raise the pollen count and increase pollen density in the air.
  • The more of these pesky pollen particles there are in the air around us, the more people with hay fever will suffer from the usual symptoms.
  • Storms can also unsettle the atmosphere, stirring up allergens and pollen particles in the air, which can cause major irritation if you’re prone to allergies.

Thunder fever symptoms

While thunder fever and hay fever may show up in the same way, the key difference is that thunder fever tends to come with extra symptoms that are similar to asthma.

Post-thunderstorm hay fever symptoms could include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Itchy, watery or red eyes
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • A runny or blocked nose
  • An itchy throat, mouth, nose or ears
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Pain around your head and temples
  • Loss of smell
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

Thunder fever and asthma

If you suffer from both allergies and asthma, you should take extra care during stormy periods. The dramatic changes in pollen levels caused by thunderstorms can trigger asthma attacks if the small pollen particles get into your airways.

No matter what triggers it, an asthma attack can be fatal if it results in severe shortness of breath and a lack of oxygen in the lungs. But, it’s important to remember that not all thunderstorms trigger asthma, even if the pollen count is especially high.

Driving and thunder fever

If you suffer from thunder fever or hay fever, it’s key to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car. This is important if your symptoms are severe or if you’re taking any medication to treat the symptoms.

Antihistamines, which are usually used to treat allergy symptoms, can cause drowsiness. In previous years, the Met Office has issued warnings to drivers to be cautious during stormy periods while driving. Both thunder fever and the side effects of antihistamine medication can impact your reactions on the road.

How to avoid thunder fever?

Unfortunately, if you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer then you’ll already know there’s not much you can do to prevent it altogether. But here at Kleenex, we know a thing or two about telling allergies to get stuffed.

There are a few ways to help keep thunder fever at bay, including:

  • Shutting your windows during times of high winds, high pollen counts and storms
  • Using an air purifier
  • Rinsing your eyes and nose with clean water whenever irritation occurs
  • Carrying Pocket Pack Tissues with you for Allergy Comfort on-the-go
  • Washing your clothes after being outside to get rid of any pollen that may linger on the fabric
  • Dust your home regularly with a damp cloth to keep your surroundings free of irritants
  • Applying Vaseline around your nostrils when you’re outside to form a barrier from the pollen
  • Drying your clothes indoors rather than outside to minimise any contact with pollen

Thunder fever shouldn’t put a stop to your plans. Use Your Pollen Pal to check the pollen levels in your local area for the next five days so you can be prepared for whatever the weather has in store.

Browse our Articles

Pollen See More

Managing hay fever in children, babies and toddlers

Hay fever can be tough on the best of us, but for children it can particulary hard. Kleenex & Allergy UK share their advice on helping children manage their hay fever.

8 mins

Read More

Exercising with allergies: jog on, pollen

Struggle with hay fever when exercising outside? Check out these tips from our partners at Allergy UK on ways to manage symptoms when exercising outside.

3 mins

Read More

Food to avoid for hay fever sufferers

Learn what hay fever foods to avoid to keep your pesky allergies at bay. Follow these tips from Kleenex® so you can enjoy the great outdoors this summer.

4 mins

Read More

Hay fever FAQs

According to the latest research from our partners Allergy UK, hay fever affects almost half of the British population. That’s an awful lot of people sneezing, suffering from itchy eyes, headaches, shortness of breath or constantly feeling tired. Find out more here.

3 mins

Read More

Hay fever in pets

When pollen levels peak, they don’t just trigger allergies in humans, but in pets too. Read on to discover what hay fever in dogs and cats can look like, and the best remedies for pet allergies.

4 mins

Read More
Need to enter First Name.
Need to select the checkbox.
You can read our Privacy Policy here.