March 30, 2023
Lawn Care is Still Possible With Allergies: Here's How
Gardening is wonderful thing to do...especially in states where there is a great climate for keeping a beautiful yard all year round. But sometimes even basic lawn care can be as uncomfortable as it is rewarding. Allergies, hot weather, knee pain, pricks from thorns, and the development of the ever-popular farmer’s tan are all risks for anyone who wants to enjoy their yard.
With over 50 million Americans who suffering from allergies, it’s no surprise that getting stuffy is a common side effect of yard work, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a few things you can do to alleviate your allergy symptoms so that gardening can be enjoyable...even in 100-degree heat.
Choose the right times to avoid your ragweed or grass allergy
Pollen gets the worst around mid-morning when the sun starts to peak. By moving your gardening/mowing time to early morning or late afternoon, you’ll avoid the highest amount of pollen in the day. Some days are worse than others so that no matter what time you choose, you may be better off staying inside. Learn what days are the worst by checking your local pollen count.
Protect yourself from your allergies
It can feel goofy to dress up to protect yourself from plants, but it’s important not only for your skin but also your symptoms. Simply wearing a hat can be extremely useful. By wearing a hat, you’re able to prevent pollen from collecting in your hair and exposing you to allergens all throughout the day.
Long sleeves and pants will not only protect your skin from the sun but also pollen that irritates your allergies. Spending time around grass or ragweed that you’re allergic to can cause rashes and hives to breakout on your skin. By limiting direct exposure to these plants and grasses, you decrease the possibility of having these skin reactions.
One method to filter pollen from entering your nose or mouth is by covering your face. You don’t need to go spend money and get an N95 mask, although it’s the most effective. A simple bandana tied around face can work wonders for your allergies. At first you may feel like a gardening cowboy or cowgirl, but being able to breathe will make it well worth it.
Also, if you know that you’re going to be doing a good amount of lawn maintenance, take an antihistamine before you go outside. This will prepare your immune system to battle your allergies early.
Mowing with a grass allergy
The obvious answer to avoid symptoms from grass allergies is to delegate the responsibility of mowing elsewhere, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for another way, whether it be out of necessity or if lawncare is something you truly enjoy. The first thing to do is make sure you’re following the same methods covered in the previous sections.
The more consistently you mow, the less symptoms you will feel from your grass allergies. Keeping grass around 2 inches tall will help keep the grass from flowering and pollinating. Keep grass around 2-3” tall rather than 4-6” tall.
Something else that will be helpful in the long-run is a bag for your mower. It collects grass that is normally strewn across the yard which is then picked up by the wind.
Some additional quick and easy ways to reduce allergy symptoms include:
- Showering and changing clothes immediately after being outside. Get that pollen off of you!
- Wash any dogs or indoor/outdoor animals once a week as pollen can stick to their fur
- Keep compost bins away from your gardening area. Though great for fertilizer, these can collect mold which is a whole other allergen to worry about.
- Rake leaves often. Fallen leaves are breeding grounds for mold as well as collecting pollen.
- Consider getting plants that rely on insect pollination instead of wind. In general, flowers that are brightly-colored, with large petals and fragrant are typically pollinated by insects rather than wind. Although, full disclaimer, this wouldn’t be a good idea if anyone in your family has a bee allergy.
- Regularly do nasal saline rinses. This is like giving your nasal passage a bath that cleans out all of that pollen stuck to it. We recommend the squirt bottles, such as NeilMed, as they are much more user-friendly.
Consider replacing your lawn with artificial grass
If, even with these tips, you still feel like you're not able to enjoy your yard, you may want to consider replacing your lawn with artificial grass. Companies like LawnPop specialize in creating beautiful and realistic-looking yards.
Artificial grass can be a good option for people with allergies for several reasons:
- Reduced pollen: Natural grass produces a lot of pollen, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Artificial grass, on the other hand, does not produce any pollen, which can help reduce allergy symptoms. It also does not store pollen like natural grass does.
- No mold or mildew: Natural grass can also harbor mold and mildew, which can be allergenic. Artificial grass does not provide an environment for mold or mildew to grow, which can be a relief for people with allergies.
- Easy to clean: When you mow a natural grass yard, all kinds of pollen, dust, and debris are released into the air, which will make your allergy symptoms worse. Artificial grass requires no mowing, which can help reduce allergens in the area. Regular cleaning with a hose or leaf blower can remove dust and debris that may be causing allergy symptoms.
- No need for fertilizers or pesticides: Natural grass requires fertilizers and pesticides to stay healthy, which can be problematic for people with allergies. Artificial grass does not require any chemicals, which can help reduce exposure to allergens.
Overall, replacing natural grass with artificial grass can be a good option for people with allergies who want to enjoy a green lawn without the allergenic properties of natural grass. However, it is important to note that artificial grass may still harbor dust and other allergens, so regular cleaning is still important.
How Aspire Allergy & Sinus can help your grass allergies
If these tips aren’t enough to get you feeling better or if you’re tired of fighting allergies every summer, schedule an appointment to see if immunotherapy would be right for you. This will build a tolerance to ALL of your allergies and get you feeling better no matter the season.