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Have you been sneezing a lot lately? Maybe your throat has been sore and itchy or you’ve felt congested. If you’ve dealt with any of these symptoms, you may have a pollen allergy. All of the pollen flying through the air in the summertime can really make it hard to enjoy the flowers and plants blooming all around us. Fortunately, there are some flowers that are considered allergy-friendly. This week, I’m taking a look at seasonal allergies and allergy-friendly (and -unfriendly) flowers.
Seasonal Allergies and Pollution
People who have seasonal allergies may sneeze, cough, wheeze, or have other respiratory-related symptoms when they encounter pollen. This is how their immune system reacts to allergens. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that approximately 50 million people suffer from seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, that number seems to be rising. Scientists are studying the relationship between air pollutants and the increase in allergens that cause seasonal allergies. They’ve found that certain chemical reactions with air pollutants may be making allergens stronger. This discovery points to the possibility that there will be an increasing number of people dealing with seasonal allergies in the future.
Different Types of Pollen
So why are some flowers allergy-friendly while others are not? It has to do with the type of pollen they have as well as how the pollen travels. Some flowers are insect-pollinated. The pollen grains of insect-pollinated flowers are heavy and sticky, so they are less likely to become airborne. These flowers are considered allergy-friendly. Other flowers are wind-pollinated. These flowers have small, lightweight grains of pollen that travel in clouds through the air. In fact, these pollen grains can travel long distances and filter through window screens. Many types of wind-pollinated flowers are not at all allergy-friendly!
Examples of Allergy-Friendly Flowers
If you’re looking for a bouquet for a loved one with seasonal allergies, you may want to try a gathering of colorful miniature roses or hypoallergenic Asiatic lilies. A lovely arrangement of hydrangeas or tulips would also be a welcome delivery for someone with pollen allergies. If you’re searching for allergy-friendly flowers for your garden, try daffodils, crocuses, geraniums, pansies, begonias, or clematises. A bed of blue periwinkles also would be an appealing addition to an allergy-friendly garden. Personally, I always include red zinnias in my garden. Along with being allergy-friendly, these blooms attract passing butterflies.
Examples of Flowers Allergy Sufferers Should Avoid
Chrysanthemums, goldenrod, and daisies are all flowers that produce a lot of pollen. This makes them less friendly to allergy sufferers. It’s a good idea for people who have seasonal allergies to avoid amaranth, dahlias, and sunflowers as well. If you want to plant these flowers despite suffering from seasonal allergies, try to avoid bringing them into the house. A home’s HVAC system can circulate airborne pollen and stir up allergy symptoms.
Don’t despair if you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer who sees some of your favorite flowers on the list of unfriendlies, though: Scientists are coming up with many flower hybrids that contain reduced amounts of pollen.