According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), people who are prone to seasonal allergies risk itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing if they undertake gardening. Luckily, it is possible to garden in Fort Worth even if you have allergies. Here are five tips to get you started:
For starters, your garden should not contain plants and trees that are known to produce allergens. Examples of such plants include iris, cactus, magnolia, cedar, hibiscus, ash, dahlia, cottonwood, roses, tulips, Johnson grass, cherry tree, maple, daisy, rye grass, geranium, and snapdragon. Instead, incorporate allergy-friendly plants/trees such as ironbark, Carolina jessamine, hydrangea, ferns, dogwood, redbud, hawthorn, palms, and fringe tree into your garden. In addition, the University of Texas at Austin recommends planting female members of plant species because they do not produce as much pollen as male members. You should also consider plants classified as low risk under the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALSTM), which was created by the author of Allergy-Free Gardening, Thomas Leo Ogren.
Besides investing in allergy-friendly plants, go for allergy shots (immunotherapy) because they offer better relief from allergy symptoms. This is according to the AAAAI. The Central Park ENT & Surgery Center at 800 Eighth Ave Suite 618, Fort Worth, TX is one the facilities in Fort Worth that administer allergy shots. Alternatively, you can use oral or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) allergy tablets to prevent allergic reactions. Unlike allergy shots, SLIT tablets are administered daily under the tongue. This is important because some allergy-friendly plants produce small amounts of allergens.
Even if you are on allergy medications and your garden has allergy-friendly plants, remember to wear protective gear before undertaking gardening activities. This includes NIOSH-approved facemask/allergy mask/respirator, goggles, gloves, and gardening overall. If you can, wear a long-sleeved shirt/top to minimize the risk of contact with plant allergens. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) develops guidelines on ways of preventing exposure to allergens.
Gardening Best Practices
While gardening, avoid touching your face or skin because doing so increases the risk of introducing allergens into your body. What’s more, it is wise to perform gardening tasks in the morning or evening when allergen counts tend to be low. Additionally, use a water hose to wash off allergens such as dust and pollen from plant surfaces before gardening. This exercise should be done while wearing protective gear. During the rainy season, you do not have to follow this protocol because rainwater also washes off allergens. Avoid gardening on windy days because pollen counts tend to be high. Thunderstorms may also increase pollen count in the air, so you should remain indoors during such weather events.
Allergen Count Alerts
Keep track of allergen counts in Dallas via alerts delivered by reputable bodies such as the National Allergy Bureau (NAB). The NAB has about 78 stations throughout the US, which means it can deliver accurate allergen counts. It also has two counting stations in Canada and Argentina.
Allergens such as pollen can make gardening impossible for people who are prone to allergic reactions. Strategies that you can implement to garden even if you have allergies include wearing protective gear, monitoring allergen counts, receiving allergy shots, and observing the appropriate gardening best practices.