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Treating Allergic Reactions to Houseplants

Updated on July 21, 2008
Photo Courtesy of Morguefile
Photo Courtesy of Morguefile

Even houseplants that are considered safe for pets and humans can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you think you or someone near you is experiencing an allergic reaction to a plant, there are a few things you should do.

Treating Allergic Reactions to Houseplants

Sometimes even safe plants can cause allergic reactions, and they can be very broad in scope, from minor skin irritations to acute respiratory distress. If you suspect that you or someone near you is having an allergic reaction to a plant, the first step is to evaluate the immediate safety risk.

  • Call 911 now if difficulty breathing or swelling of the mouth or throat is a problem.

  • For severe skin reactions like blistering or hives, wash the affected area with warm water and a mild soap, change any clothing that has come in contact with the plant and seek medical help.

  • For mild reactions like skin blotchiness, itching, rash or minor swelling, clean the area with mild soap and water.

  • If you are experiencing itching, a cool shower or bath can help, as can calamine lotion, topical anti-itching creams and oral antihistamines.

  • For blisters, apply a baking soda paste to help dry them out faster, and a large blistered area can be treated with an oatmeal bath. To prevent infection, any broken blisters should be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. Consult your doctor of any signs of infection develop or blisters don't heal.

To avoid unnecessary exposure to plants that may cause problems, approach all new plants with caution, particularly if you have had allergic reactions in the past, and don't bring poisonous plants into your home. Dispose of any plants you've had reactions to, and wear gloves if you believe there may be a problem handling a particular plant.



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