Dr. Clifford Bassett

As Mother's Day comes around, it can mean misery for millions of allergy sufferers and prevent moms from spending time outdoors with their families.

Let's take a look at plants, trees and flowers that are good and not so good choices for mother's affected by allergies. You may also need to adjust your outdoor activities and/or consider coming indoors if the pollen is high.In general, pollen levels are higher in the early morning hours. You can learn the days pollen and mold counts by going to www.aaaai.org/nab. Also windy, dry, sunny and clear days may be associated with greater levels of pollens than wet, cloudy and windless days.

Good vs. Bad Plants

Getting mom a plant or flowers?Avoidallergy producing plants such as: amaranthus, coneflower, crocus, elderberry, juniper, peony, poppy and privet. Pick some lessallergy provoking choices such as: azalea, begonia, bougainvillea, cacti, daffodil, daisy, dahlia, gladiola, Irish moss, iris, lily, marigold, narcissus, orchid, pansy, petunia, snapdragon, sunflower, tulip, violet and zinnia.


Choosing the best plants, such as female plants, may help to ease suffering, as they do notshed pollen and may also help to remove airborne pollen, according to research botanists. Male plants are often chosen for landscaping in many neighborhoods and they often produce less seeds and fruits which can get messy on sidewalks and streets.

Some other survival strategies for Mother's Day:

  • Consider a pollen mask while gardening
  • Wash and shampoo hair after spending time outdoors to reduce pollens from coming inside and especially into your bedroom
  • Keep grass cut short
  • Leave your clothing outside of your bedroom, brush off shoes and rinse glasses

Again, the best offense is a great defense and awareness of your environment.

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 to diagnose or treat any condition.