Your asthma garden can be sneeze and wheeze free if you follow some simple tips and tricks. With increased time in your garden, the asthmatic gardener may be at risk for worsening asthma symptoms. These 10 tips from can prevent seasonal allergies from worsening your asthma and keep you in the garden longer:
- Weather matters. If the cold weather makes your asthma difficult to control, consider an indoor garden. If you just need to get outside, make sure you wear a mask or scarf that can decrease the amount of cold air getting to your lungs. Even better, do your gardening when it is warm and humid.
Try not to garden when pollen counts are high. You can check out pollen counts at pollen.com. Additionally, you may want to avoid windy days, as the more wind there is, the more likely asthma triggers are going to be airborne. The best days for asthma gardening will typically be rainy, wet, cloudy and windless days. If you absolutely need to go into the garden, try to limit your time when pollen counts are high.
- Wear a protective pollen mask while gardening. Protective gear can prevent asthma triggers from reaching your lung. Wear a hat to prevent pollen from getting in your hair. Long pants and a long sleeve shirt may make your asthma gardening more tolerable as you will track less pollen into your house. Leave your asthma gardening clothes in the laundry room and wash them right away.
Goggles and or pollen masks may prevent "mowing" allergies. If severe enough and you can afford it, it may be just better to have someone mow for you.
- Take a shower. You can bring an incredible amount of outdoor allergens into your home after gardening. Showering after gardening can reduce allergen exposure in your home.
- Keep grass cut short and avoid mowing yourself if possible.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes and nose while gardening. While this is more difficult than it sounds. being mindful of where your fingers are may prevent you from exposing your self to pollen and other asthma triggers.
- Use gardening gloves. This asthma gardening tip will minimize direct contact with allergens.
- Water frequently.Frequent watering can decrease the amount of molds and allergens that become airborne.
- Keep pets out of the garden. If you have pets, keep them away from outside plants and trees. Pollen may get in your pets fur and in y our house increasing your exposure.
- Pick your asthma plants carefully. The types of grasses, trees, and plants have a lot to do with how much allergen exposure you may have while asthma gardening. Additionally, consider using alternative mulches like fine gravel instead of straw mulching. Other tips include keeping high pollen-producing plants away from entrances to your home including doors and windows.
Common allergy producing plants that may worsen your asthma include: amaranthus, coneflower, crocus, elderberry, juniper, peony, poppy, and privet.
Plants that might be better for your asthma include: azalea, begonia, bougainvillea, cacti daffodil, daisy, dahlia, gladiola, Irish moss, iris, lily, marigold, narcissus, orchid, pansy, petunia, snapdragon, sunflower, tulip, violet, and zinnias.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Accessed october 20, 2011. Gardening With Allergies.
Thomas Leo Ogren. Safe Sex in the Garden. Ten Speed Press. Berkeley, CA. 2003
Tom Ogren. American Holistic Health Association. Accessed october 20, 2011. Asthma Friendly Gardens.