Most will have been welcoming the spring, but for some it marks the start of a an array of problems.
For around one in five people across the Fylde coast and North Lancashire, the buzz of the bees and the sight of cherry blossom on the trees is a sign of bad times to come.
The spring and early summer is often ruined for sufferers of hay fever, and it’s not just the cause of sneezing fits or a runny nose. Hay fever causes painfully itchy eyes, throat problems, severe pain due to blocked sinuses and even the loss of the sense of smell.
Mr Ajay Nigam, ear, nose and throat consultant and head and neck surgeon at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, sees most of the chronic suffers.
He said: “The symptoms of hay fever are caused when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grass or weeds. Pollen contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.
“Different trees and plants produce their pollen at different times of the year. Depending on which pollen you are allergic to, you may experience your hay fever symptoms at different times. People allergic to tree pollen start to feel the symptoms around now.”
For most people, hay fever can be treated with over-the-counter remedies available from your local pharmacy. There are also prescription medicines, including corticosteroids, which can help.