Hay Fever and Hair Length

Girl suffering from hay fever
Q: I suffer from hay fever. Now my mother claims that it's partly my own fault because I have long hair. She argues that the pollen sticks to my hair and worsens my hay fever problem. Is this true?
A: Before we can understand the potential relationship between hay fever and hair length, we need to know what hay fever and pollen are exactly.
Hay fever, also known as pollen allergy, is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. It's characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, a runny or congested nose, and itchy eyes. Hay fever is caused by allergens such as pollen.
Pollen is a fine, powdery substance produced by flowers, trees, grasses, and weeds as part of their reproductive process. It's often dispersed in the air and can trigger allergic reactions. While it's an essential part of the reproductive cycle of plants, it can be a major inconvenience for people suffering from hay fever.
Your mother's suggestion that your long hair could worsen your hay fever isn't entirely baseless, but it's not the whole story. Pollen has a tendency to stick to just about anything it comes into contact with: your clothing, your skin, and yes, even your hair. However, the difference between long and short hair in terms of pollen accumulation is quite negligible.
Pollen particles are small and light, making them easily carried by the wind. When you're outside, especially during pollen season, some of these particles can indeed land on your hair. Cutting your hair short might seem like a plausible solution to reduce pollen accumulation, but it's unlikely to result in a noticeable reduction in your hay fever. Pollen particles can easily find their way through various other avenues, regardless of your hair length.
Instead of cutting your hair, it's better to focus on practical measures to minimize your exposure to pollen. Thoroughly but gently brushing your hair after being outdoors can help remove any pollen that's stuck to it. Changing clothes after spending some time outside can also reduce the amount of pollen you bring indoors.
My advice as a hairdresser is aimed at avoiding contact with pollen as much as possible. This may provide some relief but is not a substitute for medical advice. It's important to consult a doctor for medical advice and appropriate treatment for your hay fever.
See also:
Hair care tips
Weather and your hair