Spring and summer months are distressing times for people with seasonal allergies. Even a simple walk outside could set off some uncomfortable symptoms from various types of allergies. But spending time outdoors – and particularly gardening – is essential for many Atlanta residents’ health and stress-free state of mind. So how can you maintain a positive, productive and healthy lifestyle when pollen is in the air?
How to Garden With Allergies
Outdoor gardening or keeping the lawn in shape is relaxing and rewarding for some people, but allergies can derail the experience. Dr. Chacko shares some tips that can make gardening easier on allergy sufferers.
Bruce: Gardening in the springtime doesn’t sound fun. I know I’m not going to breathe, my eyes are going to be itchy, so it does something a fun experience at all.
Dr. Chacko: So, Bruce, even with your allergies, we can have you still gardening. The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure you wear some long clothing, long sleeves, long pants, and gloves to make sure you keep yourself away from the pollen.
So gardening with allergies, I’d make sure that you look at the pollen count and make sure it’s the days that you plant a garden the pollen counts are not exceptionally high. I would also make sure to take off your clothes after you go out and do not bring the pollens inside. I wouldn’t plant any plants outside windows because I could bring upon inside your house. I would also make sure to take your allergy medicine before you go out which will help protect you from any type of allergic reactions.
Also pollen counts tend to be higher in the mornings around 10am to 12pm, so I’d probably plat your garden sometime after that in the later evening.
You don’t want to go out gardening on a windy day because a windy day will then increase the pollen count, so on dry days are better.
Bruce: So come with spring, flowers. They make me nervous. Should they?
Dr. Chacko: Actually, these colored flowers really don’t produce a lot of pollen that bother people. It’s really the trees, so I would not be worried about planting any of these type of flowers.
Bruce: So when I mow, my grass allergies absolutely kill me. Is there anything I can do to help with that?
Dr. Chacko: If you’re known to have bad grass allergies and you’re out, make sure you take an antihistamine prior to mowing. You should probably use about an hour to an hour and a half prior to mowing. If you know you have bad grass allergies make sure you use a mask. Lastly, if you use the mask and you’re still having problems, then I might actually get someone else to do the mowing.
Bruce: Someone else has to do my mowing. I think I can live with that.
Top Gardening Tips if You Have Allergies
- Pay attention to allergy symptoms – Allergies can cause an itchy throat, a runny nose and watery eyes. Stop gardening and return indoors if your symptoms become uncomfortable.
- Take allergy medication – Don’t wait for allergy symptoms to start to take antihistamines. Take medication in advance of exposure to pollen and other allergens.
- Wear a mask – An allergy mask has a filter to prevent exposure to high pollen levels. Quality masks are also comfortable enough to still enjoy the gardening experience.
- Wear protective glasses – Consider wearing safety glasses (or even sunglasses) while mowing the lawn or doing other yardwork. Also, avoid touching or rubbing your face or eyes.
- Pay attention to allergy triggers – Hay fever causes include grass, tree and weed pollen. Consider which type of allergen is causing most issues, or speak to an allergist about allergy testing for greater understanding.
Contact Us for Seasonal Allergy Treatments in Atlanta
At Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center, we offer allergy testing and treatment services for adults and children. If you are experiencing allergy symptoms while gardening or at any other time, visit us in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment now.