We will all know somebody who has an allergic reaction to pollen and suffers from hay fever and from around May to September their lives can be made a complete misery. It’s not simply flowers that cause pollen allergies. People can also suffer from tree pollen and grass pollen.
You might suffer with itchy eyes, nasal congestion, rashes on your skin and breathing difficulties and the best way for people to cope with this debilitating condition is to avoid the things that cause pollen allergies and to know how best to treat them. However, all that said, many keen gardeners and others who like to spend time in their garden will only too willingly sacrifice their own discomfort to do so and later in this article, there are some useful tips for creating a more allergy-free garden.
Tips To Minimise the Effects From Pollen
If you suffer from pollen allergies yet still choose to spend time working or relaxing in the garden, you should take antihistamines or use nasal sprays BEFORE you go as opposed to afterwards when the symptoms will have already manifested themselves.
Drinking plenty of fluids can also help keep both your respiratory and immune systems functioning better and make them more able to fight off allergens.
Keep a check on the weather forecast’s pollen index and, if it’s likely to be high, do your gardening or sit outside another day. Alternatively, if you’re out in the garden every day, be aware of when the effects of pollen are likely to be at their highest. For example, in the spring, tree pollens are highest earlier in the morning whilst, in the summer months, grass pollen and weeds tend to be more virulent around midday.
Not all plants produce the same amount of pollen so learn which ones produce the most and either don’t plant them or make sure that you situate them furthest away from your doors and windows. Keep direct exposure to pollen to a minimum by wearing gloves, face masks and goggles and avoid touching your skin when working outdoors. And, when your day is done, make sure you put your clothes in the wash and take a bath or shower which will get rid of the excess pollen and dust.
Also, if you have pets, keep them away from plants and trees that are heavy producers of pollen as it will get in their fur which can cause further problems if your pets come indoors.
Tips for an Allergy-Free Garden
It might be quite difficult to design a garden that is completely pollen free but there are a number of steps you can take to keep pollen in your garden to a minimum.
Firstly, try to plant as many female plants as possible as it’s only the male plants which produce pollen. It’s not always easy to tell which plants are male and which are female to the untrained and many keen gardeners will not even be aware that plants have different genders but there are some clues. Anything labelled ‘fruitless’ or ‘seedless’ is male and should therefore be avoided if you suffer from allergies.
Also some botanists advocate only using plants that are native to the area, as if you plant those which are not adapted fully to a particular environment, it can cause them stress which means that they naturally produce even more pollen as a fight for self-preservation. ‘Double’ flowers like double chrysanthemums have petals instead of pollen parts so these types of flowers are a far wiser choice if you suffer from pollen allergies.
Therefore, although high levels of pollen can cause many problems for sufferers, there are ways in which you can reduce your discomfort yet still enjoy a certain amount of time in the garden.