Can you enjoy some quality time in your garden if you’re allergic?
The answer is yes, you can.
However, you need a good combination of your medication, proper precautionary and preventive measures, and adequate knowledge to make it happen.
If you’re tired of just staring and want to go out in your garden without having a fear of an allergic reaction, here are the top 5 things that you can avoid to make your garden allergy-proof!
1. Stinging insects
Not all insect stings trigger an allergic reaction. The most common insects that cause an allergic reaction are bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants.
If you’re allergic, it’s crucial to identify insect nests and remove them from your garden. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes. Avoid wearing bright colors or perfume as they attract insects. Consider using insect repellent to minimise the risk of getting stung. Also, remove plants that attract insects, especially bees. You can use a natural insecticide in your garden and spray it regularly on your rubbish bins too.
It’s better to always have an epinephrine kit at hand in case of an emergency. In some cases, bee stings may cause anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic response. Therefore, keep an EpiPen with you at all times.
2. Allergenic plants
The pollen produced by allergenic plants is one of the most common causes of allergies around the world. Allergenic plants come in all sorts of forms and sizes: grasses, weeds, herbs, shrubs, vines, and trees.
If you have a pollen allergy, be careful not to have any type of allergenic plant in your garden. For your convenience, here are some common plant species known to cause allergies.
- Grasses: Saltgrass, Timothy, Johnson, June, Redtop, Sweet Vernal, Orchard
- Weeds: Ragweed, Nettle, Sagebrush, Cocklebur, Russian Thistle
- Vines: Wisteria, Jasmine vine
- Herbs or flowers: Sunflower, Chrysanthemum, Daisy, Amaranth, Periwinkle, Petunia, Daffodil, Zinnia, Tulip, Snapdragon, Pansy, Geranium, Iris
- Shrubs: Rose, Hibiscus, Azalea, Hydrangea, Viburnum, Boxwood, Juniper, Cypress
- Trees: Oak, Cedar, Ash, Beech, Maple, Willow, Olive, Walnut, Cottonwood
Mould is a fungus that produces airborne spores. When people with a mold allergy inhale these spores, they experience allergic symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Some individuals may experience these symptoms year-round, while others may experience them during specific times of the year, depending on the type of mold spores they’re allergic to.
Mold grows in humid conditions and can be found almost anywhere, whether indoor or outdoor. In your garden, you can find mold growing on logs, dried leaves, planters, walls, and crevices. However, only certain types of molds cause allergies. Some common examples include Penicillium, Cladosporium, Memnoniella, Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, and Alternaria.
The best way to lessen your risk of allergic reactions is to keep your garden mold-free as much as possible. Remove leaf debris often and keep your flower pots clean and dry. Also, clean out your rain gutters frequently for good drainage. Don’t forget to wear a face mask before going outside.
You’ll have allergy symptoms year-round if you’re allergic to dust.
The leading cause of dust allergy is dust mites. They are very tiny creatures; you can barely see them with your naked eyes. Dust mites (sometimes called bed mites) consume dust particles and water vapours in the air. These organisms thrive in warm, humid areas and are not usually found in dry climates.
Aside from allergic rhinitis, dust mites can cause breathing difficulties and eczema flare-ups. They are one of the most widespread indoor allergens while also being a common factor of asthma in children.
If you live in a city, it’s nearly impossible to avoid dust and smoke at all times. If you’re allergic to dust, wear a face mask before stepping out in your garden. Use a sanitizer frequently and avoid touching your face with unsanitary hands. These simple tips will help you to relieve your allergic symptoms and enjoy gardening more often.
5. Pet animals
The immune system of a person with a pet allergy reacts to the proteins found in an animal’s saliva, skin cells, and urine. Therefore, if you suffer from a pet allergy, it’s best to reduce your exposure to the animal as much as possible.
The fur or hair of any animal can trigger an allergic response. However, the most common pet animals that cause allergies include:
- Dogs and cats: Your pet itself doesn’t trigger your allergy. It’s their fur and hair that causes problems. Sweat, saliva, urine, and pet dander (dead skin cells) can all provoke an allergic response. Dander is particularly problematic because it’s microscopic and can remain airborne for extended periods. Pet saliva can also become airborne when dry.
- Rabbits and small rodents: Rabbits’ hair, fur, and saliva can also trigger pet allergies. Allergens from small rodents such as mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils are typically found in their saliva, urine, fur, and dander.
- Birds: Their feathers contain mites which are known to cause allergic reactions.
- Horses: Although rare, horse dander can trigger a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic response in some people. Children are considered to be at risk the most.