After months of long, cold winter days, it is finally time to welcome spring! As…
Spring is a great season for outdoor exercises with the warmer weather and the great view around you. However, it can be pretty challenging for those with allergies as spring is synonymous with pollen season. Runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion are some of the allergy symptoms triggered by pollen.
But this doesn’t mean you must stay indoors for your exercise routines especially runners and cyclists. There are ways to cope with your allergies during springtime and still enjoy the outdoors. Let’s look at some of them!
Know your allergens.
Before looking at medicines and treatments, you need to know first what triggers your allergy. It can be trees, weeds, grasses, or mold spores. The earliest to release pollens are trees. They usually pollinate as early as late winter to spring. Grasses follow next sometime in late spring up to early summer. Weeds, the most common cause of hay fever, pollinate in late summer till early fall.
See an allergist so you can be tested and develop a treatment plan that will fit your active lifestyle. Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, said, “The keys are to be smart about allergen exposures and minimize them as much as possible.” When you know your allergens, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your outdoor exercises.
Know the best time to go out.
Allergy Associates founder Stephen Klemawesch said higher pollen levels are usually found in the morning. It peaks from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. You can work out on a treadmill indoors around this time and save your usual runs and cycling routines at night. Klemawesch suggests running after rain or snowfall as this tempers tree pollen. However, if you have mold allergy, you should stay indoors after a rain. The drier, the better for you.
Know the pollen count.
Patil said that pollen counts are relatively accurate and have become a regular part weather reports. She said that pollens levels are high on warm, dry, and windy days. They are lower on cloudy, windless, and rainy days. Knowing the pollen count in your area will help you in determining the routes you should take and avoid.
There are many websites you can check for pollen count such as Tree Pollen Map, Pollen.com, Air Quality Now, and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. You can also download apps such as Allergy Alert, WebMD Allergy, and ZYRTEC AllergyCast.
Know the preventive measures you need to take.
Antihistamines are usually given to relieve allergies. However, you need to avoid those that induce drowsiness and affect your hydration. These include Benadryl and other first-generation antihistamines. Klemawesch recommends over-the-counter nasal sprays such as Nasalcrom and Flonase or topical nasal antihistamines like Patanese and Astepro. There are preventive inhalers, too, such as Albuterol and Xonepex. You can also wear nasal filters that act like tiny filters in your nose.
If you’re more into natural treatments, Denise Wood, owner of Advanced Allergy Solutions, recommends natural antihistamines found in health food stores such as quercetin, Vitamin A, and nettles (commonly used as tea).
Aside from that, you also need to wear protective gear as well such as glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from pollen. Some people wear a mask or bandana over their nose and mouth while exercising outdoors. More importantly, you need to shower and change your clothes right after your workout as pollen sticks on your clothes and hair. Rinse your clothes first before throwing it with the rest of the clothes in the laundry.
By doing these things, you can enjoy spring despite your allergies! A lot of it involves preparation prior to your outdoor exercise like the checking of weather, time, pollen count, personal gear, and medications or supplements. But these will protect you from your allergy symptoms and allow you to continue your workout routine during spring!