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Asthma and Gardening

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In the past, asthmatic people are normally advised to avoid gardening since there are plants that can trigger an asthma attack. I know this because I have a friend who used to share the same interest as I do in gardening. She was advised by her doctor to find another hobby because plants and asthma do not go together. Recently however, I read that asthmatic patients can now engage in gardening provided that certain precautions are observed.

Before you engage in gardening, be sure that you have natural antihistamine or other home remedies for asthma on standby just in case you accidentally come in contact with plants that can trigger an asthma attack. This is one of the most important precautions to remember so that you can immediately alleviate the symptoms when you feel an impending attack. It is good to always be ready even if you have observed all the necessary precautions.

Moreover, it is also important that you have background knowledge of plants that are suitable for you to grow and plants that you should avoid such as the following:

  • Wind-pollinated plants – plants that are wind pollinated including deciduous plants having insignificant-looking flowers are among the plants to avoid as they release pollen that will make you more susceptible to an attack if you inhale them.
  • Bird and insect-pollinated plants – these plants normally has flamboyant and large flowers that attract bees and birds. You should avoid them for the same reason that inhalation of pollens can trigger an asthma attack.
  • Scented plants – plants with a strong scent such as sweet peas, lilies and roses may also trigger an asthma attack on some people.
  • Other flowers and trees – Certain flowers such as chrysanthemums, daisies and marigolds are also known as asthma triggers. The same is true with some trees including olive, mulberry, ash, alder, coprosma, elm, cypress and maple trees.

When gardening, it is advisable to use a mask to avoid exposure to pollen and dust. You should also minimize weeding by using mulches or ground cover plants. For mulches, gravel is the best option because natural mulches such as manure and tree barks are prone to mold spores which can cause an attack once you are exposed to them. And if you are using compost as an organic fertilizer, have someone do the composting for you to avoid exposure to molds.

While you can do the planting of suitable plants, other garden maintenance works such as mowing, trimming and weeding are best left with other people not susceptible to asthma. These tasks can stir up pollen, spores and dust which can trigger an asthma attack when inhaled.

Additionally, if you have a home garden, be sure to close your windows at night because most flowering plants release their pollens early in the morning. With an open window, the wind could carry some of the pollens to your room, triggering an attack. Also, remember to keep your flowers outside your garden and not inside your room to prevent an attack.

If you really like gardening like me, your asthma should not stop you from what you really like to do. The precautions listed here should help you deal with your condition while pursuing something you enjoy doing.


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