Love gardening? Allergy-proof your yard work with these tricks.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Well, definitely not by sitting in the house all spring avoiding allergy symptoms and letting her silver bells wilt from lack of TLC.
If you have seasonal allergies, you don’t have to bury your love of gardening or settle for a weed-ridden lawn to manage your allergy symptoms. “You can still enjoy the garden and Mother Nature, but you have to be prepared and do a little homework,” says Clifford Bassett, MD, an allergist at NYU Langone Health and author of the book The New Allergy Solution. “Many of my patients are allergy-savvy gardeners.”
Here are five of Dr. Bassett’s best tips for allergy-proofing your yard work.
1. Dress for pollen-fighting success. Wear sunglasses to block pollen from getting into your eyes, gloves, and a brimmed hat. Tuck away your hair and avoid gel and hair spray. Pollen love to latch onto your hair (especially hair that’s styled with gel).
2. Wear a pollen mask. “A face mask, such as a pollen mask or an NIOSH-rated 95 mask (available at home improvement stores) can be very helpful, especially if you’re sensitive to not only pollen, but mildew or molds that could be in the garden,” says Dr. Bassett. It’s one of two allergy home remedies he strongly recommends.
3. Leave pollen at the door. “If you have gardening tools [or] if you’re wearing outdoor clothing, change them before you enter your bedroom. Wash off your equipment, your glasses, [and] your shoes,” says Dr. Bassett. “These are ways to reduce pollen dispersal, back into your home.”
4. Garden in good weather. If it’s a windy, high-pollen day, you may want to reschedule your yard work. “Days where it’s moist and a little drizzly could be better for gardening in an individual that has extreme sensitivities,” says Dr. Bassett. Learn more about the best and worst weather for seasonal allergies.
5. Take your meds before you tend. “Take your allergy medications before the activity if you know you suffer from seasonal allergies or [allergies] from things in the garden,” says Dr. Bassett.
Dr. Bassett is an allergist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine and on the teaching faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College.
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Well many of my patients are allergy savvy gardeners.
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If they're working in the garden,
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they should have a garden allergy plan.
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Wearing a hat, big sunglasses,
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a face mask, such as a pollen mask or an n95 mask,
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can be very helpful,
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especially if you're sensitive to not only pollen,
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but mildew or molds that could be in the garden.
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I know when I was a kid, I had to mow the lawn
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and I had horrible allergy symptoms,
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and the medications then weren't that effective.
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A pollen mask can help.
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So there are other things, if you have gardening tools,
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you're wearing outdoor clothing,
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change them before you enter your bedroom, obviously.
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Wash off your equipment, wash off your glasses, your shoes.
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These are ways to reduce pollen dispersal
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back into your home.
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There may be some days you perhaps would rather schedule,
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perhaps when it's not windy,
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and days where it's moist and a little drizzly
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could be better for gardening
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in an individual that has extreme sensitivities.
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Take your allergy medications before the activity,
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if you know you suffer from seasonal allergies
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or things in the garden.
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You can still enjoy the garden and mother nature,
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but you have to be prepared and do a little homework.
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Common Seasonal Allergy Triggers. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. (Accessed on September 16, 2021 at http://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies)
Outdoor Allergens. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. (Accessed on September 16, 2021 at https://www.aaaai.org/Tools-for-the-Public/Conditions-Library/Allergies/Outdoor-allergens-TTR)