Does anyone use a mask for gardening?

Hi all, I work as a gardener and this summer have had around 3 or 4 attacks every week, which is very draining and landed me in hospital for a week too. Doctor changed my combo inhaler, but still getting the attacks and permanent mucus production.

Does anyone use a mask for working in the garden? Does it help? And what brand/style etc would you recommend? Thanks.

16 Replies

  • I should try allergy testing first. Some trees make me cough until I've fled away! Feels very strange. And vaseline up your nose might help in the short term, but you need to know what is setting you off.

  • Vaseline up the nose? That sounds particuarly messy. Have you tried it and if so does it work well for you? I get more severe attacks when I've been cutting heather, or picking up piles of dusty dry grass. Heather in particular can make me cough on contact, when it's dry and dusty, but I don't usually get the attacks until evening time, which is in some ways convenient as I don't have to miss any work!

  • Vaseline is supposed to stop the dust getting any further than your nose, but you'd have to be sure you kept your mouth closed, so short of spraying everything with water to start with, I think the mask sounds like the best plan. It follows that the attacks won't start until later, until the mites have got settled in your lungs. Try the asthma nurse on 0300 222 5800. She's a proper medic, unlike me.

    Good luck!

  • That makes sense, thanks. Might try a cheap disposable mask before I splash out on a proper one. I'm not usually able to breathe properly through the nose due to swelling, so keeping my mouth closed while working would be near impossible.

  • The ordinary paper masks are not much good. They would need changing every half an hour too so if, like me you want to stay out in the garden all Saturday afternoon or even all day are not much good. I have been advised by my consultant which masks are best. Will get back to you once I get the info out.

  • Thank you so much. That's lovely to go to the effort. I used a cheap paper one today and actually it has made a difference. Something is better than nothing I guess. It was very hot and humid to wear though and made it more of a struggle to breathe normally. My sinuses weren't blocked though andI wonder if the humidity was helping them...

  • Sorry been away for a few days and didn't have enough time before I left to look for the paper work. Have a busy couple of days and will be able to look for it then. Sorry.

  • I would suggest a mask for sure - if it's only pollen and spores and general dust, then any grade of disposable mask would do I think. Vitrex are a brand I sometimes use for woodworking. I bought from DM Tools and Axminster tools, I think they have a good selection, but so do the DIY stores. There is a grading system for different applications 'PF1, PF2, PF3' (or something like that), higher numbers = more protection. Be careful around smoke/fumes unless you have the right grade mask.You might find the fit varies between brands/types, esp around the nose bridge.

    In general, breathing in through your nose should help filter many allergens and irritants. It may be worth trying the shallow breathing techniques taught by Buteyko practitioners.

    With eczema, asthma and nasal allergies, I have had to avoid alot of jobs I would have otherwise enjoyed or been good at, so I salute you for being a gardener even with such a condition!

  • I should add, shallow breathing can reduce inflammation in the nose, I used not to breathe through my nose due to polyps and I was on antihistamines all the time too but I chose not to have the polyps removed (eventually they disappeared of their own accord) and I stopped taking antihistamines daily around 2004 and my condition is very much better these days - couldn't say exactly why but I think it's breathing style. In recent years I've found beetroot capsules good before exertion, I waffle on about them and omega-3s and magnesium and inflammation in most of my posts.

    I was on anti-histamines throughout childhood and right into my late 20s, I chose to stop taking them then later on looked them up and found some were removed from the market and others were warning issued with new lower maximum dosage: they interfere with heart rhythm! Hismanal; Atarax; Triludan. Now I alternate between Cetirizine and Loratidine depending on which major organ I feel is strongest that day (liver or kidneys)!

  • I sometimes use antihistamine if I have a few bad days, but try to avoid medication if I can help it. I tried magnesium, but it gave me the runs and belly ache and I hear lots of conflicting messages regarding high omega 3 intake. Beetroot is a new one and a veg that I love to eat too. Will try and add more to my diet! Thanks again.

  • Magnesium oil (topical) is a good way to avoid getting magnesium in the bowels. There are also many forms of magnesium, some more absorbable than others, some better for particular conditions than others, there's a guy called George Eby who has a website all about it! A real obsessive I reckon.

  • Thank you, I will check him out

  • Ah. Sounds about right the highest protection mask can keep 100% of spores out but are more expensive. I use ones that keep 95% of dust and spores out most of the time.

  • Yes I always wear a mask for gardening and "heavy housework". I don't have the information to hand about the types of masks at hand at the moment but will look it up for you and get back to you later.

  • I get my masks online -generally from Amazon btw.

  • I was looking at a company called Respro Masks. They are pretty expensive, but they sound like they know what they're talking about.... might be worth the investment if it's comfortable and effective.

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