Pollen Avoidance

Allergen avoidance is difficult for people with allergy to substances in the air, such as pollen. For example, tiny pollen spores are windborne and travel for miles on air currents.

However, the following measures can be helpful:

  • Monitor pollen forecasts daily and stay indoors wherever possible when the count is high (generally on warmer, dry days). Rain washes pollen from the air so counts should be lower on cooler, wet days
  • Limit outdoor trips to rural areas. Sea breezes blow pollen inland, so escape to the sea instead
  • Apply an effective pollen barrier around the edge of each nostril to trap or block pollens and help prevent a reaction. Pollen Barriers are available as balms or gel nasal sprays and some people have found petroleum jelly can help
  • If you go out, shower and wash your hair on return, and change your clothing before coming back into the living room or bedroom
  • Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important in the early mornings, when pollen is being released, and in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again
  • If you suffer symptoms indoors, a good air filter should help. Choose one that is proven to trap even small particles (see the Allergy UK website for lists of approved air filters)
  • Avoid mowing lawns or raking leaves. If you must perform these tasks, use a filtration face mask (see Allergy UK website
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen allergens out of your eyes
  • Avoid drying washing on a clothes-line outside when pollen counts are high
  • Pollen counts tend to be high along roads with grass verges (dual-carriageways, motorways). Keep car windows closed and the air intake on 're-circulate' when driving. Choose a car that is fitted with an effective pollen filter, or get an in-car air filter
  • Choose hypo-allergenic eye make-up, especially mascara
  • Don't let pets get close to your face as they can carry pollen in their fur. Wipe pets’ coats with a damp microfibre cloth to remove pollens when they have been out for a walk
  • Use goggles when swimming, whether in the sea or in a pool.
Last updated: December 2013      Next review date: December 2015
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