Allergies don’t have to keep you from the rewards of gardening. Just choose plants carefully. Plants that are pollinated by the wind, including trees, grasses and weeds, are most likely to trigger allergy symptoms. These plants often have small blooms with little or no color. Instead, choose bright and colorful plants, which are often insect-pollinated. Their pollen is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Already have a garden or don’t want to change your planting plans? You can still take steps to lessen allergic symptoms. Avoid touching your eyes and face while outside, and consider wearing a mask to limit the spores you breathe in. In addition, try to tend to your garden when pollen levels are lower, typically on rainy, cloudy and windless days. You can create a customized email alert for pollen counts in your area through the National Allergy Bureau (NAB). When you’ve finished working, leave gardening tools, gloves and shoes outside to avoid bringing allergens indoors. Showering immediately after gardening can also help reduce symptoms.
Have questions about your allergies? Call our Allergy & Immunology Department for answers.