Can People With Seasonal Allergies Stay Healthy While Gardening?
For a person who has seasonal allergies, gardening can be problematic. After all, trees and grasses are pumping out pollen spores in the millions and winds are blowing them hither and yon.
Are you wondering how you can get all your work done and not dissolve into a sneezing, nose-blowing, eye-tearing mess? The smartest thing to do is to assign all those yardwork/gardening tasks to someone else who is not allergic. But that's not always possible or even desirable. After all, working outdoors can also be a great stress reliever and just plain fun!
So, if you do plan to work outdoors, this post will hopefully provide a few tips that will help prevent your allergies from making you miserable while you do so.
1. Plan your outdoor work times carefully. Hot, dry, windy days are NOT the best days for you to be working outdoors. In fact, those are the days when pollen counts are likely to be at their highest, particularly early in the morning. Be sure you check with your local weather channel or at one of the online pollen trackers, so you know the days when you are better off staying indoors as much as possible. It may not be as pleasant to work outdoors on rainy, cloudy and cooler days, but you'll definitely feel better if you wait for those types of days.
2. Protect yourself from pollen when you do work outdoors. It can be helpful to wear a pollen mask while gardening outdoors. These types of masks can be found at Amazon.com or even at your local hardware store. Be sure to look for the type that say they filter out pollens and other allergens. A simple paper mask won't do the trick. Also, do your best to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth while gardening, so that you don't transfer pollen into your airways. Wearing gardening gloves can also be helpful.
3. Don't bring pollen indoors! Of course, you can't totally avoid carrying pollen indoors on your hair, clothes and skin when you have been working outdoors. But you can take steps to get rid of most of the pollen as soon as you come inside. Put the clothes you were wearing into the laundry basket as soon as you come in. Brush off your shoes outdoors before you bring them in. And then take a shower to wash off any pollen that may have accumulated on your hair or skin.
4. Take your allergy and asthma medicine as prescribed (or recommended, if it is an over-the-counter variety). When you have seasonal allergies, it is best to start taking your allergy medicine at least a couple of weeks before pollen counts begin to rise, and then to keep taking it every day until after the first frost in the fall. This will go a long way toward preventing the symptoms of allergies. If you have asthma, be sure you are taking your preventive medicine, as well as always keeping your rescue inhaler close at hand while gardening.
If you spend time outdoors during spring, summer or fall allergy seasons, and you have seasonal allergies, chances are you're going to experience some allergy symptoms, at least some of the time. But by taking the steps in this post, you should be able to minimize those symptoms and feel much more comfortable while also getting your gardening and yardwork done.