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The indoor houseplants to avoid if you suffer with hay fever or allergies

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Houseplants may bring aesthetic benefits to our homes, but there are some varieties that can exacerbate seasonal hay fever symptoms. So, if you already deal with a sniffly nose and red eyes at this time of year, here are the houseplants you’ll want to avoid.

5 houseplants to avoid if you suffer with hay fever or other allergies

English Ivy

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Ivy is an eminently popular indoor plant, mostly due to how beautifully they trail down from bookcases, shelves or window sills.

However, Max Kirsten, Resident Sleep Expert for Panda London explains: “English Ivy produces allergenic proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

“When kept indoors, English Ivy can also accumulate dust and mould on its leaves, exacerbating allergic symptoms. Additionally, the presence of mould spores on the plant can worsen respiratory symptoms.”

Ficus

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A ficus plant (otherwise known as Ficus benjamina, or the weeping fig), is a beloved houseplant due to its lush foliage. It’s beneficial in other ways too, known for its air-purifying qualities.

Max advises: “Ficus plants produce latex sap that contains allergenic proteins capable of triggering allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Exposure to Ficus sap can lead to symptoms such as skin irritation, nasal congestion, and respiratory issues.”

Unfortunately, as with Ivy, ficus plants can also collect dust and dust mites. “The broad leaves of the weeping fig can collect dust and harbour mould spores, both of which are common allergens. Regular cleaning of the leaves is necessary, but even this can stir up allergens,” Mark Lane, Stannah’s gardening expert and BBC gardeners’ world presenter explains.

Ferns

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Carol Yepes

Almost everyone loves the look of ferns, with their interesting leaves. They are non-toxic, too, making them ideal for those with pets and little ones.

However, the way ferns reproduce can pose a problem for hay fever and allergy sufferers. “Ferns reproduce via spores rather than seeds,” Mark says. “These spores can become airborne and are problematic for individuals with allergen hypersensitivity. Inhaling these spores can trigger allergic reactions.”

Ragweed

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Ali Majdfar

Though they are more commonly seen outside, ragweed plants can also be a nightmare for hay fever sufferers, particularly if you bring them inside or they sit near regularly opened doors and windows.

“Ragweed is a notorious culprit for triggering allergies, particularly during the late summer and early autumn months when its pollen counts are at their peak,” Max says.

“Ragweed pollen is incredibly light and can travel long distances through the air, infiltrating indoor spaces even with closed windows,” he continues. “When inhaled, ragweed pollen can irritate the nasal passages and throat, leading to congestion, sneezing, and itching.”

Bonsai trees

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You may not expect it, but certain types of bonsai (in their larger and smaller forms) can secrete pollen and sap, which is a big no-no for allergy sufferers, and can result in symptoms such as a runny nose and watery eyes.

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For hay fever sufferers, play it safe with aloe vera plants, peace lilies and spider plants which are less triggering.

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