If you experience allergic reactions while working outdoors, consult with
your local doctor or allergist to determine which plants are responsible and
when they pollinate. You can then formulate your own personalized calendar
indicating your best and worst times to be outdoors.
If you do go outside, there are several ways to minimize your exposure to
pollen. These include wearing gloves, a long sleeved shirt, hat, and sunglasses
or goggles. A pollen mask may also be necessary. After working outside, take a
shower, thoroughly wash hair, and change clothes. The
Qmask dust and
pollen is really a good choice for yard work.
Weather conditions can affect the abundance of allergens in the air. Wind
pollinated plants will not release pollen when it is raining, and instead are
more dangerous on hot, windy days. Mold and fungi spores, on the other hand, are
more abundant during wet weather. Save gardening for days when your allergen
counts are low.
Individuals with allergies should avoid certain garden chores that aggravate
their symptoms, such as working in the compost pile, working with mulch or
straw, raking, using power blowers, or mowing lawns. Mowing grass can cause
grass particles, pollen, and mold to become airborne.
Don't plant trees, grasses, or shrubs that cause allergies. Choose plants
that are insect-pollinated instead. Keep grass trimmed so it doesn't flower. If
allergies prevent you from mowing, it may be wise to invest in a yard care
service or reduce your lawn area by adding flower beds or ground covers.
Eliminate weeds from the garden early, before they reach maturity and flower.
Certain species of the compositae plant family, such as mums, marigolds, and
dahlias, may be cross-reactive for individuals with ragweed sensitivity.
Your doctor or allergist may also recommend medications to help alleviate
allergic reactions. For gardeners with hay fever, new antihistamines are
available that can relieve symptoms without causing drowsiness, hyperness, dry
mouth or eyes, or upset stomach. These non-sedative antihistamines come in many
forms that are taken once or twice a day, in pill or liquid form. Eye drops can
relieve itching, swelling, and irritation. Nasal sprays come in both non-steroid
and corticosteroid forms, and can effectively reduce allergic reactions. These
treatments can ease pain after gardening, but are much more effective when taken
as a precaution before gardening activities - and allergy symptoms - begin.
For gardeners with asthma, your doctor or allergist can recommend one of many
different types of medications, in oral or inhaled form, to treat your
Allergy shots or vaccinations can desensitize allergies. These treatments may
be difficult and time consuming, but they allow an individual to build up a
tolerance to allergens, which is helpful to not only treat the symptoms but also
the allergy itself.
Before considering these treatments, consult with your doctor or allergist to
discuss possible benefits and side effects.