The arrival of summer conjures up images of long evenings and sunshine. But for thousands of allergy sufferers, it can be an annual nightmare.

Siobhan Ryan looks at what can be done to relieve the problem.

Wasps and bees, nettle rash, prickly heat and a high pollen count can make summer a time of suffering for many people. Asthmatics often have to step up their treatment to try and tackle the increase in symptoms.

During the recent National Allergy Week, health experts came up with ideas and suggestions to help people cope so they can enjoy the summer.

For those people susceptible to asthma and other allergic reactions to the increase in dust and pollen but who don't like the idea of using too much conventional medicine, there is an unusual alternative.

A simple magnet can help relieve a physical problem but Ann Andrews from Seaford is one of a growing number of people who are feting the success of a magnotherapy wristband device called Bioflow.

The device is already popular in Japan but less well-known in the West.

Inventor Nigel Broderick researched human and animal healthcare in the UK and discovered that many physiotherapists and vets were using magnotherapy, mostly with electro magnets.

The idea is that the therapy helps to increase circulation of the blood and clear out toxins in the system.

Mr Broderick realised a small magnet would still influence the blood and designed a simple strap that could be worn on the wrist.

The results have been impressive; thousands have felt the benefits of using the wrist magnet to relieve pain.

Mrs Andrews, 62, who suffers from asthma and eczema, said she was amazed: "I was having to take a lot of steroids, especially in summer, to ease my asthma but after using the magnet for a short time, I didn't need them so much."

Hay fever Brighton pharmacist Tracey Dowe says hay fever sufferers can control and reduce symptons by following a simple set of precautions.

These include keeping car windows closed and protecting the eyes with sunglasses.

People are also urged to ask their pharmacist for advice on remedies.

Mrs Dowe said:"Typically,a bite from a mosquito or midge will cause only a local reaction but it can cause a lot of discomfort.

"Calamine lotion will soothe an itchy bite and is suitable for both adults and children. Hydrocortisone cream is suitable for adults only and will reduce inflammation and relieve the itch.

It should not be applied to broken skin or the face."

Stings differ to bites in that the insect releases a small quantity of venom which can be painful and itchy and last a few days.

Both bee and wasp stings can, in very rare cases, cause a serious reaction called anaphylatic shock which can be fatal.

Wasps,hornets and bees are very different in nature wasps and hornets are aggressive and can swarm, while bees are passive and only sting humans in self-defence.

Antihistimine will help but prevention is the best course of action. This includes covering the legs and arms and using insect repellent on exposed areas.

If eating outside, cover food and drink to avoid attracting wasps and stay calm and move slowly when wasps and bees are close by.

Nettle rash also known as hives is one of the most common skin allergies.

Symptoms are itchy,raised, white spots, mainly affecting the torso, legs and arms.

The cause is difficult to identify but foods such as shellfish, extremes in temperature, stress and plants are known triggers.

As with all allergic reactions, most sufferers can get symptomatic relief from an antihistamine.

A sunshine holiday can be ruined by prickly heat rash.

The exact cause is unknown but common triggers are sudden exposure of the body to sunlight and sweating.

Hydrocortisone cream may relieve the symptoms. Also, limit sunbathing on the first few of days of your holiday to a few minutes.

Mrs Dowe said: "There is no reason why, if the proper precautions are taken, people with allergies can't enjoy the summer."