Weather and hayfever
Hayfever season can last from March to October, with some people only getting a break from symptoms during winter.
When your symptoms show
If your allergy symptoms are due to pollen alone, November, December and January are the only months when you'll be symptom-free in Northern Ireland, as that's when nothing is pollinating.
However, if you have symptoms during the winter, then you haven’t got hayfever. You may have an allergy to something else such as pet fur or house dust mites.
Rain makes a difference to hayfever sufferers because it washes pollen out of the air. And less pollen is released on cooler, cloudy days than on hot, sunny days.
The longer-term effects of climate change have meant the pollen season has become longer and prolonged the symptoms for many people with hayfever.
If you live near the coast and wind is blowing off the sea and on to the land, that air is going to be fairly clear, so your symptoms may not be as bad. But if you're on the coast and the wind is blowing off-shore, the pollen count will be higher.
What can you do to limit exposure?
Pollens are released in the early morning and as the air warms up they get carried up into the air above our heads. As evening comes and the air cools down, the pollen comes back down.
This means symptoms are usually worse first thing in the morning and in the evening, particularly on days that have been warm and sunny.
Follow these tips to reduce your exposure to pollen:
- keep windows closed overnight so pollen doesn’t enter the house
- buy a pair of wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen entering the eyes
- smear Vaseline around the inside of your nose to trap pollen and stop it being inhaled
- wash your hair, hands and face when you come back indoors, and change your clothes - avoid drying clothes outside if you can
- use air filters to try to reduce pollen that is floating round the house
- keep the window shut when driving
- avoid mowing the grass or doing other work in the garden
- avoid fields and large areas of grassland