Woman with pollen allergies

Exercising with Seasonal Allergies



Allergy season is here and it’s making everyone miserable.

Only a week ago, the city of Durham, North Carolina was awash in a yellow haze of pollen while other cities faced a similar threats. As climate change continues to affect us more, we’re starting to see “Pollmageddon” or the Pollen Armageddon happen much earlier than normal.

Symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itching, and watery eyes can be enough to ruin anyone’s day. Unfortunately, it’s completely impossible to avoid pollen but you can minimize your exposure to it.

So don’t let pollen and allergies ruin your workouts, here are ways you can lessen your pollen exposure and the effects of allergies.

Check the day’s pollen count – The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s National Allergy Bureau keeps track of pollen count and mold levels around key U.S. cities and other territories. So be sure to check their website before you head off running or walking.

Pick your day and time of day – Pollen counts are higher in the morning than in the evening so plan your run accordingly.

Exercise at home – Just because you can’t go outside for a run, doesn’t mean you can forget your workout altogether. We have simple workouts you can do at home – no equipment needed!

Apply a barrier cream around your nostrils – you can use Vaseline around your nostrils to help trap pollen from getting into your nose and causing symptoms.

Change your route – change the route you typically go running or walking on. Avoid parks, fields or grassy areas where pollen is denser. Grass can still trigger pollen allergies despite low pollen counts as some species of grass pollen may cause the same allergic reaction.

Don’t go running on a windy day – extra wind means pollen gets more dispersed. Check the pollen count for that day so you can plan ahead.

Get the right medication – before you reach for an over-the-counter allergy medication, check if the medication causes drowsiness. Many allergy and itch medications containing Cetirizine, Loratadine, Levocetirizine and the likes may cause drowsiness which can definitely ruin a workout session. Not to mention it's also unsafe to exercise while drowsy.

Also, ask your doctor if you can be referred to an allergist. You may be a good candidate for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy offers controlled exposure to pollen or any chemical you are allergic to. Your Allergologist may offer you small doses of the allergen then slowly increasing them overtime with every session. The goal is for your body to build up immunity to the allergen.

Summary

Don’t let allergy season put a damper on your workouts. Here are ways you can lessen your pollen exposure and the effects of allergies. 

  • Check the day’s pollen count – check the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology National Allergy Bureau’s website. They keep track of pollen count and mold levels around key U.S. cities and other territories.
  • Pick your day and time of day – Pollen counts are higher in the morning and lesser as the day goes so plan your run in the evenings when pollen counts are lighter.
  • Exercise at home – Just because you can’t go outside for a run, doesn’t mean you can forget your workout altogether. We have simple workouts you can do at home – no equipment needed!
  • Apply a barrier cream around your nostrils – you can use Vaseline around your nostrils to help trap pollen from getting into your nose and causing symptoms.
  • Change your route – avoid parks, fields or grassy areas where pollen is denser.
  • Don’t go running on a windy day – extra wind means pollen gets more dispersed easily.
  • Get the right medication – before you reach for an over-the-counter allergy medication, check if the medication causes drowsiness. Ask your doctor if you are a good candidate for immunotherapy.

 

References

"National Allergy Bureau" - American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

"Exercising When You Have Allergic Asthma" - WebMD

"Grass can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms when pollen count is low" - Earth, April 23, 2019
 
"Exercising with allergies – what you should know" - Health24, Ocotber 18, 2018
 
"Your Pollen Survival Guide" - WebMD