Preventing hay fever 

It's very difficult to completely avoid pollen. However, reducing your exposure to the substances that trigger your hay fever should ease your symptoms.

Rubbing a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel) inside your lower nostrils can help to prevent pollen from entering your nasal passages.

Staying indoors

If possible, stay indoors when the pollen count is high (over 50). The tips below may help to reduce your exposure to pollen.

  • Keep windows and doors shut in your house. If it gets too warm, draw the curtains to keep out the sun and lower the temperature.
  • Don't keep fresh flowers in the house.
  • Vacuum regularly, ideally using a machine with a high-efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) filter.
  • Damp dust regularly. Dusting with a wet cloth, rather than a dry one, will collect the dust and stop any pollen being spread around. 
  • Keep pets out of the house during the hay fever season. If your pet does come indoors, wash them regularly to remove any pollen from their fur.
  • Don't smoke or let other people smoke in your house. Smoking and breathing in other people's smoke will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, making your symptoms worse.
  • If possible, avoid drying clothes outside. This will help to stop pollen being brought into your house.

Avoiding pollen outside

If you need to go outside or you're travelling, the tips below may help to reduce your exposure to pollen.

  • Avoid cutting grass, playing or walking in grassy areas and camping – particularly in the early morning, evening and at night, when the pollen count is at its highest.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes.
  • Take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body.
  • Keep car windows closed. You can buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car, which will need to be changed every time the car is serviced.

Unproven remedies

Be wary of unproven treatments and remedies, such as acupuncture arm bands, nasal infrared lights and nasal sprays that coat the nose lining with a protective gel. There's no scientific evidence to show that these treatments are effective in treating hay fever.

Page last reviewed: 27/10/2015

Next review due: 27/10/2017