Spring. You’ve been waiting all winter for it and it’s finally here. But now that the temperatures are rising, so is the pollen count. And that’s bad news for those with spring allergies. But you can’t use allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose, itchy water eyes and feeling exhausted as an excuse to skip out on exercising outdoors. Whether you want to bike, run or walk, all you need is a little preparation.
Pollen seasons tend to be predictable, so you can start taking medication before any allergens start to fly. Also the time of day you exercise matters. Pollen counts are typically high in the morning, so you can make plans to exercise later in the afternoon or evening. You should also know what your personal pollen tolerance level is. Some people are affected when the level is 15, while others don’t feel symptoms until the count reaches 1500 or higher. To find out where your tolerance lies, keep track of the daily pollen count and how you feel.
Before you head outside, there are steps I want you to take to help protect yourself so here are my prescriptions:
1. Wear sunglasses or sport goggles, preferably the ones that wraparound. They’ll help block pollen from getting into your eyes.
2. Wear a hat and tuck your hair into it. That way if you don’t shower right away, you’ll have less pollen hanging near your face.
3. If your eyes are very sensitive, you can try antihistamine eye drops before heading out. Be sure to read the directions and precautions before using.
4. Know your medication’s side effects. Some antihistamines make you tired so talk to your doctor about exercise and the best time to take your med’s.
If the pollen levels are really high, you may want to choose a less intense form of exercise. Because the harder you work-out, the faster you breathe. And that means inhaling more allergens and irritants. No matter what exercise or intensity you chose, be sure to breathe through your nose and not your mouth. Your nose does a great job of helping to keep allergens out. And lastly, if your symptoms are making you miserable, be sure to see an allergist who specializes in allergy treatment.
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