(Last Updated On: May 5, 2023)

Can Yard Work Cause Allergies?

If you’re an allergy sufferer, yard work can be challenging. Even the simplest lawn care tasks can cause hay fever and other allergic reactions. Pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers are some of the most common triggers for outdoor allergies. Exposure to outdoor allergens can cause itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure headaches.

First identifying what triggers your allergic reactions will enable you to take steps to manage them. Take proactive steps while working in the yard to reduce your exposure to allergens and reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Determining the optimal time to do yard work, for example, is important. Wearing a mask will also reduce the amount of pollen spores you inhale. Over the long term, maintaining eco-friendly lawn care habits can help reduce airborne pollen and help cultivate a healthy environment. 

Retired senior woman gardening. Pulling the weeds and edge garden beds.

Understanding Yard Allergies

Yard allergies can be a nuisance, especially during the spring and summer months. Allergens such as grass pollen, tree pollen, and flowers are common triggers but not the only ones. Knowing what causes these reactions is important to minimize your exposure and reduce symptoms.

Common Causes of Yard Allergies:

Pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers are some of the most common triggers for outdoor allergies. These allergens can become airborne by wind or walking through them. Mold spores in your yard can also cause allergic reactions when present in large amounts outdoors due to wet weather conditions or decaying organic matter like leaves or compost piles.

Symptoms of Yard Allergies:

When exposed to an allergen outdoors, you may experience itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure headaches. The headaches are caused by inflammation in your nasal passages due to allergen particles entering your body’s airways. In extreme cases, facial or throat swelling can occur.

Identifying and Managing Your Triggers

When it comes to yard allergies, accurately identifying your triggers is the first step in managing them. Allergy tests are a great way to determine what is causing an allergic reaction. An allergist can recommend the right kind of test for you. Understanding the allergens that cause your symptoms can better help you manage and avoid them.

Wearing a mask while working outside is essential for reducing exposure to airborne particles that trigger allergies. Masks come in all shapes and sizes, from disposable paper masks designed specifically for allergy sufferers to more durable ones made from fabric or other materials. Wearing one when mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, or raking leaves can significantly reduce your exposure to pollen.

For those who enjoy flower gardening, certain flowers are better suited for people with outdoor allergies. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, lower-allergenic flowers include daisies, geraniums, hibiscus, iris, roses, snapdragons, and tulips.

If you have seasonal allergies caused by outdoor plants like grasses or trees, try keeping windows closed during peak times when pollen counts are high outdoors–typically between 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. This will help prevent those allergens from entering the home environment where they could aggravate symptoms. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are also helpful in removing indoor air pollutants.

Best Times for Outdoor Yard Work

Choosing an optimal time for outdoor yard activities is key if you suffer from allergies. Pollen is one of the main culprits for allergies, and understanding when pollen counts are highest can help you plan your outdoor activities accordingly. The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) can provide specific information about pollen and mold levels in the air. The NAB provides the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels from approximately 78 counting stations throughout the United States.

Atmospheric conditions can significantly affect the amount of pollen in the air. On sunny days with warm temperatures, wind currents will often carry more pollen from plants into the atmosphere than on rainy or cloudy days due to a lack of wind on the ground. This means that if you have allergies, it may be best to avoid being outdoors during times when there’s lots of sunshine and little rain forecast. Even though rain might wash away some allergens like pollen, high humidity can cause mold spores to proliferate, so don’t forget about checking mold levels as well.

Preventative Measures While Doing Yard Work

By following a few simple tips when doing yard work, you can significantly reduce exposure to allergens and enjoy time outdoors without worrying about irritating allergies. Taking proactive measures before doing any kind of gardening or lawn mowing can help reduce exposure to allergens.

Taking a shower after outdoor activities, for example, can help you minimize allergic reactions. Make sure to shower within two hours of finishing outdoor activities, which will help remove pollen that may have adhered to your skin. Changing clothes afterward is also recommended. Wearing a mask when doing yardwork can also help prevent allergies. It’s also important not to touch your face while you’re outside as this could transfer allergens onto sensitive areas like your eyes. If you have to touch your face or eyes, make sure to sanitize your hands.

Sustainable Lawn Care Practices

Sustainable lawn care practices are an important part of keeping our environment healthy and clean. Using eco-friendly approaches can reduce the number of toxins discharged into the air–diminishing potential irritants that can be inhaled by both people and animals. Using battery-powered self-mowing machines instead of gasoline-powered equipment can reduce harmful emissions that contribute to worsening climate change.

Another sustainable practice is to reduce the number of times the grass is mowed. Keeping grass short prevents the flowering process and reduces the amount of pollen released into the atmosphere, making it easier for those with allergies or asthma to enjoy outdoor spaces. Keeping grass short also helps keep air quality at a higher level than if left unmowed as tall grass releases more carbon dioxide into the air. Higher carbon dioxide levels have been linked to poor health outcomes when breathed in over long periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions: Can Yard Work Cause Allergies?

Can Yard Work Cause Allergies?
Yes, yard work can cause allergies in susceptible individuals. Mowing and raking can stir up airborne allergens, potentially leading to an allergic reaction. Certain plants can also emit allergens. Wearing a face covering when engaging in any kind of garden work can minimize contact with outdoor allergens.

Can Mowing the Lawn Cause Allergies?
Mowing the lawn can lead to allergic reactions in some people. Lawn mowers can stir up allergens like pollen and mold spores, potentially triggering reactions in sensitive individuals. Gas-powered lawn mowers can also produce pollutants that may exacerbate reactions in people with respiratory issues. To reduce allergy symptoms while mowing the lawn, wear a face mask to protect against pollen and use an electric or battery-powered mower to limit air pollution exposure.

Can Gardening Cause Allergies?
While gardening may not in itself cause allergies, for many people with sensitivities to certain allergens, gardening can trigger allergic reactions.

What Symptoms Do Grass Allergies Cause?
Grass allergies can cause sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, a runny nose, postnasal drip, and coughing or wheezing. In more extreme cases, a grass allergy may cause skin hives or rashes.

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