Do you have hay fever symptoms when you’re mowing the lawn?
If you’re in doubt, an allergy to grass (and other) pollens can result in one or more of the following:
- red, sore and runny eyes
- a blocked nose and/or sneezing
- skin rashes and blotches plus a general ‘itchiness’
- a blocked and catarrh-ridden throat
- a tickly cough perhaps combined with wheeziness
- sinus headaches
- a general feeling of malaise.
Of course, if you’re suffering any such symptoms, it would always be sensible to get a doctor to check your assumptions about hay fever as a cause. Assuming it is though, what can you do about it?
Don’t Ignore It
Hay fever was once laughed-off by many, including some heath care professionals, as being a trivial thing or ‘in the mind’.
In today’s more enlightened times, it’s recognised to be a potentially major problem that can seriously reduce sufferers’ effectiveness in work or when doing jobs around the house.
There are some medications you can take to help and your doctor will discuss those with you including the traditional anti-histamines, although other treatments are also possible. They may also advise taking some tests to try and specifically identify just what type of pollen or dust you’re allergic to.
In some cases, those working with agricultural machinery and lawnmowers might wish to consider a few additional tips that may help.
- Depending upon your specific allergy, research which times of the day offer the best working conditions. Some pollens are far more active in the early morning and others in the late evening etc. Avoid those times!
- If the main effects on you are respiratory and throat-related, consider using a mask. Make sure it’s rated for pollen elimination.
- If you’re mainly affected in the eyes, think about goggles but you’ll need special varieties that don’t have unfiltered ventilation holes or you’ll be wasting your time.
- Consider using overalls and ‘covering up’ if the worst effects are skin-related. There are also some barrier creams that can be effective.
- Remember that some allergies commonly called “hay fever” are nothing to do with pollen at all. Your allergies might be due to, say, harvest dust or just the dust thrown up when driving around on the land. Another culprit is often household dust, the largest component of which is usually dead human skin cells! If you’re really allergic to harvest dust and related issues, then you’ll need to take some of the above steps or also look at working in a vehicle with a cab providing filtered air
- When you’ve finished your cutting, make sure you undress outside the house and try and shower quickly once inside. There’s little point keeping lots of the pollen on your overalls and mask if you then take it all into your home at the end of the day, shaking it about as you move around!
Most employers are sympathetic to employees who suffer from hay fever, so if you need anything to help you get through the day and perform adequately, let them know.
If it’s a personal rather than a work related issue, then you might just have to ask your spouse, kids or a well-disposed neighbour to lend a hand in the peak allergy season!