Beautiful flowers are always a quick way to brighten up your home, but what do you do when allergies leave you terrified of incorporating them into your decor? Turns out, you don’t have to avoid them all. So grab a bouquet and breathe easy knowing you can enjoy your blooms, too!
“Strong fragrance can be an irritant to the nose and can cause allergy-like symptoms but may not trigger allergies,” explains Dr. Clifford Bassett, diplomat of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. “However, male plants often cause more of a reaction to those who are sensitive to pollen.”
Which flowers will trigger allergies and which won’t will differ from one person to the next so use trial and error. Start with flowers that are less likely to provoke a sneezing fit, such as: azaleas, begonias, bougainvilleas, cacti daffodils, daisies, dahlias, gladiolas, Irish mosses, irises, lilies, marigolds, narcissus, orchids, pansies, petunias, snapdragons, sunflowers, tulips, violets, and zinnias.
In fact, some plants can actually help you out by cleaning the air! “These plants include evergreen, Chinese aloe vera, chrysanthemums, spider plants, mums, ficus, gerbera daisies and common English ivy,” Dr. Bassett says. “The NASA study recommends around 12 or more plants to do the job for an average size house. It works out to being about one houseplant per 100 square feet of living space.”
- Wash your hands after handling flowers and don’t touch your face.
- If you’re very susceptible to allergies, take allergy medication before you begin, use gloves and arrange flowers in a well-ventilated area.
- Use protective bedding, such as Aller-Ease’s covers, to keep pollen, dust mites, mold spores and pet dander from settling in your pillow and mattress.
- Keep windows closed to prevent additional outdoor allergens from entering your home.
- Use air conditioning, and clean the air filter often, to prevent recirculation of pollen.
“You want to enjoy them while they are there,” Dr. Bassett points out, “but not suffer from the pollen after they’re gone.”