I don't know about you, but my sinuses, allergies and asthma has been kicked up a few notches while running in this dry and crazy weather. If you are not aware of your pollen levels and what your body can and can not handle during the Spring Season when EVERYTHING is in the air, you need to get "in the know"! If you are like me and suffer with seasonal allergies, hay fever or asthma, running outdoors can be a not-so-pleasant experience during allergy season. Even a short run outdoors can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, running nose and itchy, watery eyes. But it is impossible to run outdoors even if you suffer from seasonal allergies!
Follow these tips to keep your runs symptom-free or nearly symptom free:
Plan Workouts when Pollen Counts are Low
Pollen concentrations are usually highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
If you suffer from itchy, watery eyes during allergy season, try wearing wraparound sunglasses when run outside. You can also try using eyedrops about an hour before you head outside.
Use Your Inhaler according to the Doctor's Directions!
I am the WORST at this. As soon as I "feel good", I completely forget about my asthma medicine . . . NOT GOOD! If you have asthma, use your inhaler about 15 minutes before you start running, and make sure you warm up SLOWLY. Be careful not to overdo it and bring your inhaler with you on your run, just in case.
Hit the Treadmill on a Windy Day!
The wind spreads pollen throughout the air, so run indoors when it's windy. You may even want to avoid running outdoors the day after high winds.
Clean that Body and Shower Right after Your Run!
The worst allergy symptoms usually don't occur until about an hour after you come in contact with the pollen, so you may actually be able to run outdoors without experiencing symptoms. But to reduce your risk of symptoms after your run, make sure you take a shower and put on clean clothes as soon as you get back from your run.
Use your Allergy Medications
For best results, take your allergy medications on a regular basis so you are fully protected when you do go outside. If you normally use medication (such as an oral antihistamine pill) only when you know you will be exposed to an allergen, take it a few hours before you head outdoors.
Cover Your Nose and Mouth!
You might want to consider wearing a mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose. It will decrease the amount of pollen that gets into your nose and lungs.
The Rain Cleans it all Away! Run after a Rainstorm! . . . The BEST!
Pollen counts drop as the rain washes the pollen away, so you're less likely to experience symptoms after it rains.
Take care of yourself out there and make sure you don't make the mistake that I made last week! Take your medications (according to your doctor's advise) and remember all the important factors mentioned above!