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RISMEDIA, February 20, 2010—The beauty of budding plants and bouquet of aromas are sources of satisfaction for many gardeners. For allergy sufferers, though, gardening can be as much a chore as pursuit of passion.

Pollen from trees, shrubs and grasses can cause an onslaught of allergy symptoms, including sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and in some cases, an asthma attack. But sensitive people can take a few simple steps to minimize their risk of exposure to bothersome allergens, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

“Gardening outside during times of high pollen counts puts patients at risk for severe allergic symptoms,” said Dr. Henry Legere. “Avoidance measures, as well as the use of medications and allergy immunotherapy, can make the difference between having fun in the garden and being miserable.”

An allergist/immunologist can help determine what plant species are causing an allergic reaction and advise on the best times of day or season to work in the garden. For example, pollen levels are typically lower on rainy, cloudy and windless days. Immunotherapy (allergy shots), medications and other treatments can also help reduce symptoms.

People with allergies can also trim irritation by carefully choosing the plants they include in their landscaping or garden. Certain flowers, trees and grasses are naturally better suited for the gardens of allergic people. They are less likely to produce bothersome pollen and will still add color and variety to the garden. These include:

-Cacti
-Cherry
-Dahlia
-Daisy
-Geranium
-Iris
-Magnolia
-Rose
-Snapdragon
-Tulip

In general, highly-allergenic plants to avoid include:
-Ash
-Cedar
-Cottonwood
-Oak
-Maple
-Pine
-Saltgrass
-Timothy

The best way to determine which plants will trigger reactions is through skin testing at an allergist/immunologist’s office. An allergist/immunologist can help patients develop strategies to avoid troublesome plants and pollen and can prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms.

For more information, visit www.austinallergist.com.

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