published Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Ask A Doctor: My allergies really get going in spring. Is it possible to garden without feeling miserable?

By Dr. George Michael Ozborn

Q: My allergies really get going in spring. I’d love to plant a garden this year. Am I out of luck, or is it possible to garden without feeling miserable?

A: It is possible to garden in comfort despite allergies. You just need to take extra precautions. Check the pollen count in your area at If it’s high, work in your garden a different day. Take an antihistamine available over the counter. If your eyes still itch and your nose still runs, add a nasal inhaler. Generally, with those two medications, you can work outside without aggravating your symptoms. Consider wearing a mask and gloves. Avoid touching your eyes and face while digging or weeding. As soon as you go inside, wash your hands and rinse your eyes. If the antihistamine and inhaler don’t control your symptoms, ask your physician to refer you to an allergist, who can help you identify which plants aggravate your symptoms. Your allergist may suggest allergy shots or prescription medications and inhalers to help you enjoy spring.

—Dr. George Michael Ozborn, Hixson Pike Medical Center; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a health-related question for a medical doctor, email it to Wesley Holloway at See this space each week for answers.

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