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Why do I still get hay fever indoors?

During the spring and summer months, hay fever can wreak havoc on our sinuses - causing all manner of symptoms, including sore throats, blocked noses and streaming eyes. While you may feel that you can avoid these symptoms by staying indoors more often, this isn’t necessarily the case.

What actually causes hay fever?

Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis as it’s medically known as) is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens in the air, including dust mites, moulds, pollen and animal dander. It’s caused by your eyes and/or nose coming into contact with these allergens - with pollen transmitted via grass, weeds, plants and trees.

While hay fever can technically occur at any time of year, it’s most common in the spring and summer months when airborne pollen is at its highest levels.

There are typically two main peaks to the hay fever season, with the first coming from grass pollens from May (although sometimes earlier!) until late June. The second is then in the form of other plants, releasing their pollen slightly later on in the year all the way through to September.

Hay fever is usually worse on windy days, as it’s even easier for pollen to spread and come into contact with your nose and eyes, and it eases when it rains. It’ll also depend on the daily pollen count - from very low levels to very high.

hay fever

Surely if I stay indoors more, it’ll help?

You’d like to think you can avoid pollen by staying inside, but unfortunately this doesn’t work. Pollen grains are tiny, and therefore can very easily enter your home - whether that’s through open windows or doors, through air vents, on your clothing or shoes, or on the fur or feet of your pets.

During peak hay fever season, sufferers are likely to keep windows and doors shut as much as they can to prevent particles from entering their homes. While this is a great idea in terms of helping to keep symptoms at bay, your home can quickly become hot, stuffy, humid and polluted, with stale air not being able to escape.

This will also mean that any pollen that has managed to enter your home through other means, such as on your clothing, is trapped within your home - enabling grains to easily come into contact with your sinuses.

Reduce indoor pollen levels with ventilation

The most effective way to reduce your pollen count indoors is through good, filtered, air flow. The thing to look for is a system fitted with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. These ultra fine filters capture dust and pollen but allow air to pass through. They are often found inside high quality air purifiers and air conditioners, but these can be expensive to run and ineffective when it comes to improving the air throughout a home.

A better option is to fit your home with a mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system. This  will efficiently draw out stale, polluted air from the home and replace it with fresh, HEPA filtered air from the outside - dramatically reducing your indoor pollen levels, while using the same energy as an ordinary extractor fan.

With an effective ventilation system in place, pollen levels in your home will be unable to build up to the point of triggering an allergic reaction - meaning that hay fever sufferers will be able to breathe much easier within their homes. Not only that, MVHR units use the extracted air to warm the air that the system draws into the house, increasing the energy efficiency of your central heating when it turns colder.

Are you looking to combat your indoor air pollution with the help of a state-of-the-art MVHR system? Get in touch with our team of experts today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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