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Mind and Body

Should You Smell the Flowers?

The first step is to reduce outdoor seasonal "triggers" by identifying the plants and flowers that will cause you discomfort. Get tested to choose the "right" plants, shrubs and flowers that are better for you. By knowing your allergies you can also plan ahead and modify your gardening schedule. This involves having the knowledge regarding peak periods throughout the day to the culprit allergens as well as staying tuned to learn the pollen count in your town or city.

Pollen counts from the previous day are available for main cities via the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) as well as in local newspapers and with the daily weather reports on radio and TV. The Web site for the National Allergy Bureau is www.aaaai.org/nab.

You may need to adjust your planting and/or gardening activities as seasonal symptoms such as itchiness of the eyes, nose and throat, sneezing may be worse on windy, dry, sunny and clear days may be associated with greater airborne pollens as wet, cloudy and windless days can see a reduction in outdoor plant pollens.

Colorful flowers: Plants with bright, showy flowers are better for people who have allergies. Their pollen is large and because they are pollinated by insects, the pollen is seldom airborne. Plants that cause allergies usually have flowers that are small and insignificant looking and have no color for attracting nectar.

The following trees, shrubs, and plants have been found to be BETTER for people with allergies:

Alyssum Apple Azalea Begonia Cacti Cherry Clematis Columbine

Crocus Daffodil Dahlia Daisy Dogwood Dusty Miller Geranium Hibiscus

Hyacinth Hydrangea Impatiens Iris Lilac Lily

Magnolia Narcissus Pansy Pear Petunia Phlox Plum Roses

Salvia Snapdragon Sunflower Tulip Verbana Viburnum Zinnia

If you are considering adding trees to your landscape, you should AVOID planting the following:

Alder Ash Aspen Beech Birch Box Elder Cedar

Cottonwood Cypress Elm Hickory Juniper Mulberry Oak

Olive Palm Pecan Poplar Sycamore Walnut Willow

Dr. Clifford W. Bassett

is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine. He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. No information in this blog is intended as medical advice to any reader or intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.

Dr. Clifford Bassett is an adult and pediatric allergy specialist, and diplomat of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY.  Bassett is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and on the teaching faculty of NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center and assistant clinical professor of Medicine and Otolaryngology at SUNY LICH. Follow him on Twitter.