With glorious warm weather shining on London this week, many of you will be outside enjoying yourselves. But for some, hot weather means one thing only: hay fever.

About one in four people in the UK are now affected by hay fever, compared with just one in eight in the early 1980s.

Symptoms, which include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes, can happen at various times throughout the year depending on which pollen you may be allergic to, and could hit as early as March and as late as October.

There's currently no cure for hay fever, but most people are able to relieve symptoms with treatment, at least to a certain extent.

Treatment options include antihistamines, which can help to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring, and can be obtained from your pharmacist.

However, if your symptoms are more troublesome it's worth speaking to your GP, as you may require prescription medication or corticosteroids (steroids) which help to reduce inflammation and swelling.

A field of flowers: Beautiful, or your worst nightmare?

To try and minimise your suffering, AXA PPP Healthcare have put together this handy list of hacks, which we hope can lessen the effect of that dreaded pollen.

  • Check the pollen count: Hay fever gets worse in hot dry weather so stay indoors if at all possible. Avoid the countryside and head for the coast if you are planning a day out

  • Avoid going outdoors in early morning/evenings: Pollen is released in the early morning and pollen counts rise again in the evening when the air cools and pollen in the air falls to ground level

  • Drive with the windows shut: Pollen counts tend to be highest on grass verges next to motorways, so buy a car with a pollen filter or switch the air conditioning to recirculate the air

  • Apply petroleum jelly to the edge of each nostril to act as a barrier to pollen

  • Don't let your pets get close to your face as their fur can trap pollen

  • Don't line-dry your washing when pollen counts are high

  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes

  • Use goggles when swimming in the sea or a pool

  • Keep windows closed when you're indoors and during the night

Braving the outdoors in the hot weather? Why not visit a great pub garden in west London ?