Although gardening can be a source of beauty and relaxation, it may contain triggers that flare up asthma and allergy symptoms. Here are some tips to keep in mind when gardening:
- If you have high-pollen producing plants, keep them away from home doors, windows or high-traffic areas.
- Wear a pollen mask and gloves to limit exposure.
- Avoid touching your face and eyes while working outdoors.
- Rain showers can temporarily clear pollen from the air, but brief thunderstorms can actually increase pollen counts.
- Wash hands often and rinse eyes with cool water after coming indoors to remove clinging pollen.
- Native plants are already adapted to a climate and are often easier to grow since they do not require extensive watering, fertilizer or pesticides.
- Bright, colorful plants often are insect-pollinated, producing pollens that are larger, sticker and heavier. These pollens, which are carried by insects and animals from plant to plant are much less likely to cause an allergic reactions.
- Depending on where you live, the pollen season usually lasts from March to October with most plants having the same pollination period each year. Disease-resistant plants are less likely to produce mildew, rust and black spots, which can cause allergies.
(Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 2004.)