What to Avoid When Gardening with Fall Allergies

Typically, we think of Autumn as the end of allergy season. Unfortunately, the cooler weather isn’t going to bring much relief this year, with both pollen and mold counts at all time highs, thanks to a moist, hot summer.

Susan Littlefield, a horticulturist at the National Gardening Association says that the problem for allergy sufferers comes from wind born pollen, and while that’s not what you find on your garden flowers, it is what is in the air from weeds, grass and ragweed this fall season.

“Shrubs and flowers with large or colorful flowers are good choices for allergy sufferers, as are most herbs, vegetables, and fruits,” she said. “Roses, daffodils and sunflowers are other safe bets. Many deciduous trees, as well as most evergreens and grasses, including ornamental grasses, are wind pollinated and potentially allergenic.”

So what can you do to avoid the problematic pollens? For starters, avoid gardening in the afternoon hours. Pollen counts are much higher in the afternoon than they are in the early morning or evening. Also, take advantage of our recent showers, and head to the garden just after rain clears up. You’ll have an easier time pulling those weeds, and until the sun comes out to dry up the pollen, you’ll have a few hours of relief.

Lastly, wear proper attire to garden, including sunglasses, gloves and a hat. When you come back indoors, go straight to the shower to remove any pollen that stuck to your clothes or hair.

Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT

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