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Are There Indoor Plants That Won't Trigger Asthma or Allergy Symptoms?

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I love plants, but I'm worried it'll trigger my asthma and allergies. Is it possible to own indoor plants that don't trigger my symptoms? What plants should I look for?

Indoor houseplants are very popular. But they can cause or irritate allergy and asthma symptoms. These plants can cause a reaction from pollen, fragrance, sap, dust, or mold. Typical symptoms include:

While any plant can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms, plants that frequently flower will produce more pollen than those that don’t.

Better choices for indoor plants include:

  • Palm trees
  • Aloe vera
  • Philodendrons
  • Pothos (a popular evergreen plant)

Common plants that can make allergies and asthma worse include:

  • Living Christmas trees
  • Ferns
  • African violets
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Orchids
  • Chamomile
  • Sunflowers
  • Lilies
  • Hyacinths

If you have plants in your home, there are tips to prevent worsening allergy and asthma symptoms. These include wearing gloves when watering and handling the plants, especially when repotting. Use peat-free potting soil to reduce the amount of mold. Use a damp cloth to gently dust the plants each week. Do not overwater plants. Finally, use a high-quality air filter in the home.

Allergy, Asthma, Environmental Control, Indoor Air Quality, Mold Allergy, Pollen Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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