April is National Gardening Month, and this is a time for us to celebrate the benefits of gardening, such as stress relief, building a greener planet, improved attitudes toward health and nutrition and, of course, beautiful landscapes to admire. Gardening for allergy-sufferers, however, can be a frustrating activity — if not avoided altogether! Using the following tips and taking these simple precautions can help you enjoy all that gardening has to offer.
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA) gardeners with allergy and asthma symptoms should avoid plants that mate by releasing pollen grains into the wind, such as bermuda grass, cypress shrubs, oak trees, pine trees, and beech trees. Instead, the AAFA suggests gardening with plants that rely on cross-pollination from insects to mate, such as snapdragons, begonias, tulips, sunflowers, azaleas, apple trees, and dogwood trees.
The AAFA also recommends using gravel, oyster shell, or other special plant groundcovers instead of traditional mulch or wood chips, which easily retain moisture and encourage mold growth.
In his article Gardening with Allergies, Clifford W. Bassett, MD, suggests wearing goggles and a pollen mask while gardening, as well as restricting or avoiding gardening activities on high pollen days. Bassett also instructs allergy- and asthma-sufferers to avoid touching your eyes and nose while gardening and leaving gardening clothes and shoes outside of your bedroom and other commonly used areas. Showering and washing your hair after gardening activities can also remove any lingering pollen.
Using an air purifier featuring HEPA filtration in your home is another great way to reduce allergy symptoms associated with plants and pollen. Air purifiers with HEPA filtration can remove up to 99.97% of airborne contaminants 0.3 microns and larger, including pollen. Check out our selection of allergy-relief air purifiers.
With these tips, you can reduce your allergies and enjoy the blooms of spring!