Wheeze and sneeze

Our gardens are a minefield of allergens, and sensitive people need to take precautions to limit their exposure to pollens and mould spores. Common plants whose pollens cause allergic reactions in many people include casuarinas, plane trees, perennial rye grass in pastures, lawn couch, asthma weed, chrysanthemums and other plants in the daisy family, and winter grass (Poa annua). If you suffer from hay-fever, suspect one of these as the culprit, and eradicate it if possible from your garden. Unfortunately, there is nothing one can do to get rid of other peoples trees or pasture, and pollen travels long distances on the wind. Stay indoors on breezy days in late winter and spring.

Mould is a very common allergen, often causing distressing asthma-like symptoms. The last few months have seen a lot of wet weather in our area ideal conditions for mould growth. Soft mulches such as hay, straw, bagasse and tea tree waste are full of spores now, so we need to take care when handling them. Wear a soft face-mask when spreading or raking these mulches to reduce your exposure. Be very careful when handling potting mix too.

Its a good idea to wear a face-mask whenever youre out in the garden if pollen is a problem for you. Sneezes can be avoided by taking care not to rub ones nose and eyes, wearing wrap-around sunglasses to keep pollen out of the eyes, and by changing clothes immediately after gardening or mowing the lawn. If you can do that without trekking right through the house, shedding pollen as you go, so much the better. Always have a shower and wash and dry your hair before bedtime to avoid transferring pollen to your bedding, and be cautious about keeping potted plants in the bedroom. They attract dust and mould.


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