3 Ways to Fight Allergies When You’re Gardening

Janet Tiberian Author
By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
August 7, 2020
3 Ways to Fight Allergies When You’re Gardening

For most avid gardeners, weeds and pests are plenty challenging. If you’re a gardener with allergies or asthma, however, the sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and breathing problems are enough to make you want to hang up your spade. But there are steps you can take to minimize allergies while outdoors. Read a long and get your spade ready.

Guard Yourself Before Gardening

One of the easiest ways to fend off allergies is to take allergy medicine before gardening. If your doctor prescribed a drug or recommended an over-the-counter medication, follow the instructions. 

Wear long sleeves, hats, glasses, socks, gloves and face masks to help reduce pollen exposure. And check the weather. Do your gardening on days with light breeze when pollen isn’t swirling and on days when the pollen count is low. Pollen counts are also lower in the morning and on cloudy days. You also can make your life a little easier by getting pollen updates from the National Allergy Bureau

Take Precautions While Gardening

If you have allergic asthma, the most important step you can take is to recognize the onset of symptoms. Some gardeners wait until they’re having a full-blown asthma problem to take action. First, if you’re on a maintenance inhaler, make sure you’re following the instructions and using it as prescribed. Second, know how to recognize the symptoms of an asthma attack. Tell-tale signs and symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness of chest. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of them. 

Do you best not to touch your eyes or face while gardening. It’s a sure-fire way to activate allergens.

When possible, work with allergy-friendly flowers, shrubs, grass and trees and avoid those notorious for triggering allergies. Where appropriate, choose a filler likes rocks or gravel over mulch, as mold tends to grow on it. And remember to close your windows and doors while working outdoors to prevent allergens from drifting into your home. 

Wash off Allergens After Gardening

When you’ve finished gardening, store your tools outside and then wash pollen and other allergens off your clothes and accessories. Jump into the shower. If it’s time for medication, take as directed. 

You don’t have to handle your allergies and asthma on your own. Talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms. They may order allergy tests and help you create a plan to help you control allergies, as well as discuss which medications are best for you. Don’t have a doctor? Consider partnering with MDVIP. MDVIP doctors have the time to work with you to help you develop a personalized wellness program. Find a physician near you and begin your partnership in health » 

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About the Author
Janet Tiberian Author
Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES

Janet Tiberian is MDVIP's health educator. She has more than 25 years experience in chronic disease prevention and therapeutic exercise.

View All Posts By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
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