Why Gardening Makes You Sick

A favorite pastime can become a chore when it leaves you feeling sick and foggy. Many people with allergies struggle with gardening because of the direct contact with their problem allergens and extended time outside, but there are a few options to help combat symptoms and bring the joy back to gardening.

Direct Contact with Your Problem Allergens

Gardening gives you a lot of direct contact with allergens. You’re digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, sitting in the grass, touching plants, and it can all cause symptoms like cough, itching, stuffy nose, congestion, and more. The allergens that cause the most issues when gardening are:

  • Weeds
  • Grass
  • Mold (in the dirt)

This direct contact can also cause atopic allergy symptoms where the contact occurred. For example, sitting in grass may cause a rash on your legs, and pulling weeds without gloves may cause irritation on the hands. Being this up close and personal for so long can cause more extreme respiratory allergy symptoms, too.

Extended Time Outside

The pollen from all the environmental allergens mentioned before — weeds, grass, mold, trees, and more — gets circulated throughout the air. You breathe it in, and the body interprets it as harmful, so it releases histamine. This release of histamine is what causes symptoms like congestion, itching, coughing, and runny nose.

Being outside for so long, and so close to problem allergens, is likely to spike your allergy symptoms.


How to Protect Yourself

To bring back the fun of gardening, take these few steps to protect yourself from symptoms:

  • Wear protective gear like gloves, long pants, and even a mask if your respiratory symptoms are bad enough. These barriers help reduce the direct contact that leads to many of the symptoms you experience.
  • Pre-treat yourself by taking antihistamines regularly starting two weeks before you plan to start gardening. This will help keep histamine levels low and reduce symptoms, especially if you stay consistent with them.
  • Treat the cause of your allergies — before pollen season hits! Allergychoices advocates for treating the cause of your underlying allergies with allergy drop immunotherapy following The La Crosse Method™ Protocol. Why? Because after identifying the allergens that cause your symptoms, a personalized treatment is created for you that helps to reduce, or eliminate, your symptoms altogether.

Allergy drop therapy trains the body to not react to problem allergens by slowly increasing doses of the allergens that are identified as triggers. After successful treatment, many patients can do the things they love — like gardening — without experiencing symptoms.

Find a clinician near you that offers allergy testing and treatment to get started.