Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

It's like a Furnace out there! - Northern Ireland basks in searing summer heat and blue skies amid World Cup

Hottest place in Ireland was Furnace - at 27.1C

Weather Pictures SeaPark Hollywood - Chloe Russell and Megan Smith enjoy the weather at Seapark in Hollywood

Picture - Kevin Scott
Weather Pictures SeaPark Hollywood - Chloe Russell and Megan Smith enjoy the weather at Seapark in Hollywood Picture - Kevin Scott
Katy (left) and Niamh from Belfast enjoy the sun at Helen's Bay in Co Down yesterday
Katy (left) and Niamh from Belfast enjoy the sun at Helen's Bay in Co Down yesterday
Botanic Gardens - Weather Picture - Presseye - 9th June 2013
Rachel Anderson aged 7 and her sister Ella aged 5 enjoy the weather in Botanic Gardens yesterday.
Botanic Gardens - Weather Picture - Presseye - 9th June 2013 Rachel Anderson aged 7 and her sister Ella aged 5 enjoy the weather in Botanic Gardens yesterday.

Northern Ireland has once again been basking in searing heat and clear skies as the mercury rose into the mid-twenties on Tuesday.

Dozens of Belfast workers took to City Hall to soak up the lunchtime sun, while families across Northern Ireland flocked to the beach during yet another scorcher.

But it was the aptly-titled Furnace in Newport, Co Mayo which topped the mercury scale across Ireland - with toasty temperatures of 27C, warmer than most places on mainland Europe and even drawing with the home of the World Cup 2014, Brazil.  

The west of Ireland was the place to be this sunny Tuesday with Claremorris, Mayo basking in temperatures of 24C and Shannon in Clare experiencing highs of 25C.

Those holidaying in the Mediterranean hot-spots of Italy and Sicily experienced temperatures three degrees cooler than Ireland’s sunny spells, while those on mainland Europe only topped the scale at 22C.

And football fans keeping up with the soccer spectacle in Brazil could have closed their eyes and imagined they were on the beaches of Rio, as the home of the World Cup only equalised with our temperature and had to deal with high humidity and downpours as well.

However, not everyone is welcoming the recent toasty temperatures – as hay fever sufferers can expect extremely high pollen counts this week.

The main grass pollen season is in full swing so those prone to hay fever are being warned of the high to very high counts expected during good weather.

In particular, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday can expect invisible clouds of pollen to wreak havoc with the sinuses of those prone nationwide, Met Eireann reports. 

Over 25% of Europeans are plagued with the hay fever symptoms of runny noses, dripping eyes, irritated skin and exhaustion during the summer months.

Oonagh Griffin takes a break outside Belfast City Hall
Oonagh Griffin takes a break outside Belfast City Hall

Allergy expert Dr Paul Carson of Slievemore Clinic, Stillorgan advises hay fever sufferers to be prepared to treat symptoms as soon as possible.

“Hay fever affects Irish people predominantly during the summer months particularly in June and July,” Dr Carson told independent.ie.

“It irritates the nose lining first but then spreads from the nose lining into the sinuses and then begins to irritate the lining of the eyes.

“Some people will then become wheezy and people who have had childhood eczema may find that their healed skin becomes itchy and they’re irritating it again,” he continued.

The number of Irish hay fever sufferers is on the rise which Dr Carson contributes to a number of factors.

“Twenty years ago, what was maybe 10% of the population had allergies and now this has crept up to 15%. It’s now reckoned that 24% of the population have some type of allergy.

“Hay fever in particular though is on the increase probably due to genetics. Many of us inherit the genetic tendency to be allergic from our parents. Atmospheric pollution, particularly diesel fumes, the amount of chemicals that are in our diet and an over reliance on antibiotics in childhood all compromise the immune system,” he said.

Many seek relief from their local pharmacist prior to visiting their doctor, stocking up on over the counter antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops but a blocked nose may hinder the effectiveness of these medicines.

“The difficulty is that by the time people go looking for help to the pharmacy they are already very blocked in the nose so a tip would be to buy a fast acting nasal decongestant just to unblock the nose so that the medicines that the chemist has given you will be more effective.

“If what the pharmacist gives you doesn’t work in about a week, it is important to make your way to your own doctor where there are a whole range of medicines available to make your summer much better,” he said.

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