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What every hay fever sufferer needs to know about pollen...your questions answered

how long does the pollen season last where in Europe is good for pollen worst places to go for hay fever wraparound sunglasses with pollen filter

If you are a hay fever sufferer, read on...Here we answer key questions about pollen. Reading this blog will help you to reduce your exposure to pollen, lessening your symptoms.

How long does the pollen season last in the UK?

  • Tree pollen: March to the end of June
  • Grass pollen: June to the end of August (sometimes September in a warm year)
  • Weed pollen: August to the end of October

These dates are intended as a guide only. The pollen season may be extended in some years depending on the weather conditions during spring, summer, and early Autumn. It will also vary geographically across the UK.

photo of grass meadow

Where in the UK is best to visit if you have hay fever?

  • Best places: Liverpool, Ipswich, Derby, North and Eastern England nearest the coast

  • Worst: London (particularly tree pollen) Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, locations in South-central England and North-west England away from the coast

  • Grass pollen hotspots include much of Wales and national parks such as Exmoor, the Peak District, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, as well as many areas in Scotland

grass pollen hotspots in the UK

Is hay fever worse in cities or the countryside?

Urban areas tend to have lower pollen counts than the countryside, but pollen can combine with air pollution in the city centre and bring on hay fever symptoms.

    Where is the best place for hay fever sufferers to go on holiday?


    • Best places to go: Costa del Sol, Costa Almeria and Costa Dorada
    • Worst places to go: Inland, away from the coast, such as the area around Madrid, olive tree pollen is high in Andalucia


    • Best places to go: Madeira, The Algarve
    • Worst places to go: Inland, away from the coast

    Canary Islands

    • Best places to go: The Canary Islands are one of the best holiday destinations for the hay fever sufferer as pollen counts are generally low and even the grass season is over by June
    holiday destination with palm trees


      • Best places to go: West coast
      • Worst places to go: Inland France, Paris. South of France and French Riviera


      • Best places to go: West coast and the Lakes in the North
      • Worst places to go: The Po Valley, Naples, Florence


      • Best places to go: Greek islands (especially the smaller ones)

      • Worst places to go: Inland Greece such as around Athens

      At what time of day is pollen worst?

      • Best time: Before dawn, late afternoon to early evening

      • Worst time; Midday to mid-afternoon generally, Can peak again in the evening and during the night, especially in cities

      How does the weather affect pollen levels?

      The pollen count in each area is dependent on the weather over the course of the day and night.

      Generally when the weather is warm, sunny and dry, pollen levels are high particularly when these conditions last more than several days.

      Pollen levels are lower when it is raining or has rained recently as this washes pollen grains out of the air. However, rain helps the grass grow well and if it is followed by dry weather there will be higher levels of pollen.


      Which foods should I avoid to reduce my pollen allergy?

      Try to avoid foods that contain a high concentration of histamine, including:
        • Alcoholic drinks such as red wine, milk and yoghurt
        • Chocolate
        • Dairy, such as milk and yoghurt
        • peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pistachio
        • Ready meals
        • Salty snacks

            The NHS list of do's and don'ts for the hay fever sufferer


            wraparound sunglasses with pollen filter

            • put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen

            • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes (best to get sunglasses with a pollen filter

            • shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off

            • stay indoors whenever possible

            • keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

            • vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth

            • replace the pollen filter in your car at each service

            • use a vacuum cleaner in your home with a HEPA filter


            • cut the grass or walk on grass
            • spend too much time outside
            • keep fresh flowers in the house
            • smoke or be around smoke as it makes your symptoms worse
            • dry clothes outside as they can trap pollen
            • let pets into the house if possible as they can carry pollen indoors
            Author's note: This is not intended to be a definitive list of issues relating to pollen and we intend to add to it over time as more answers become available. We believe that all the information given here is accurate, as it is based on reliable sources such as the NHS and the UK Met Office. However, if you can recommend any changes, please email us.

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