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8 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors with Allergies



  1. It can sometimes be difficult to enjoy the outdoors when you have allergies.
  2. If you have allergies, it is important to know what you are allergic to, what to avoid, and the best treatments.
  3. There are many things you can do to limit exposure to allergens while spending time outdoors.

The second it starts to become nice out, many people get the
itch to spend as much free time outdoors as possible. Many favorite activities
happen when the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and everything blooms.
Some of these activities include:

  • swimming
  • biking
  • hiking
  • camping
  • gardening

Sometimes people with seasonal allergies, also known as hay
fever, are not as thrilled with the seasonal change. As the pollen count rises
with the temperature, their allergies kick in.

It can seem difficult, or even impossible, to enjoy the
outdoors if you’re sneezing and coughing and your eyes are watering.

So how can you go for a hike, take a bike ride, or even just
lie out in the sun without having an allergy attack? 

your allergies

There are a number of ways to manage your allergy symptoms and still
enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. Allergies are very individual so it’s
best to know what your triggers are.

It’s important to understand what you are allergic to, how best to
avoid those allergens, and what treatments are best.

your allergy symptoms

Outdoor allergies are usually caused by pollen and mold spores in the
air. But there are ways you can limit your exposure to allergens and treat your

Check the pollen count

It’s important to check the pollen count before starting the
day if you’re going to be outside. You can usually find the pollen count through
the weather forecast.

Knowing the pollen count gives you a better idea of what
reactions to expect. It’s best if you find a report specific enough to mention
what kinds of pollen are most active.

It’s also good to be aware of the weather. Hot, dry, and
windy conditions give pollen the chance to travel around and make things worse
for allergy sufferers.

Wait until later in the day

The worst time of day for pollen and spores is in the
morning, from around sunrise until late morning. If you are planning a day
outside, try to make plans after lunch. Although it may be warmer outside later
in the day during the summer, the tradeoff will be fewer allergy symptoms.

Watch your activity level

Working out can often be more pleasant outside. But it might
be wise to limit the kinds of activities you participate in. Strenuous aerobic
workouts cause deeper breathing. This results in more allergens being taken
into the lungs.

Running, for example, is a very strenuous aerobic form of
exercise. It may be a good idea to practice low-impact exercises instead, and save
the running for the treadmill inside.

You can also test the air outside for comfort at higher
levels of activity. If you just love running outside, plan to do your running
in the evening, rather than early in the morning.

Grow more allergy friendly plants in your

If you have a yard or a garden, it’s worth considering trees
and other plants that are less problematic for people with allergies. Some
plants produce less pollen, or have larger pollen that is less likely to become

The following plants are more allergy friendly:

  • apple trees
  • boxwoods
  • cherry trees
  • dogwoods
  • lilacs
  • pear trees
  • zinnias

According to the National
Institute of Environmental Sciences, the trees that can cause seasonal allergies

  • ash
  • birch
  • conifers
  • elm
  • hickory
  • maples
  • oaks
  • poplars
  • sycamore

You should also try to avoid mowing the lawn, raking leaves,
or other gardening tasks that can stir up pollen and mold.

Keep the pollen in one place

Try to keep hats, shoes, and any clothes you wear outside in
a contained area or entryway. This way, the articles of clothing most
responsible for bringing spores and pollen into your home won’t spread allergens
around your living space.

It’s also a good idea to shower and change your clothes after
going inside. This will get rid of excess pollen that may be on your skin or
hair. Also avoid hanging clothes and sheets outside so they don’t catch pollen.

Try medications

There are numerous over-the-counter options to help treat
allergy symptoms. Antihistamines are particularly helpful in alleviating
sneezing, water eyes, and an itchy nose. The most common options include
tablets or capsules that include:

  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • loratadine (Claritin)
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Glucocorticoid nasal sprays like fluticasone (Flonase) are
the most effective single maintenance therapy for allergic nasal irritation.
And there are few side effects when used as directed. These are particularly
effective in the treatment of nasal congestion.

Other nasal sprays like cromolyn sodium prevent the release
of histamines and leukotrienes to prevent allergic reactions.

Decongestants don’t prevent the release of histamines.
Instead, they offer relief by alleviating stuffiness and sinus pain. Pseudoephedrine
(Sudafed) is available in pill form, while oxymetazoline (Afrin) is a nasal
spray version. Some antihistamines also include decongestants, such as
Allegra-D and Claritin-D.

The key to medication effectiveness is to start taking it
before allergy season starts. Don’t wait
until you start having allergy symptoms. Also, taking the medication
consistently will yield the best results.

Wear a mask to filter out pollen

Wearing a filter mask can separate you from the microscopic
“monsters” that set off your allergies. Although some people are hesitant to
wear what they think of as a surgical mask in public, there is nothing wrong with
it. It may be better than staying inside.

Talk to a doctor

When lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications don’t seem to
offer any relief, it may be time to see a doctor. While family physicians can
help, you may benefit more from seeing an allergist.

Allergists often recommend skin prick tests to help determine the
allergens you are most sensitive to. An allergist can then prescribe stronger
antihistamines and decongestants if necessary.

If you experience asthmatic symptoms from outdoor allergens, your
allergist will likely want to see you periodically to check your condition.

Finally, it may even be possible to alter the way your immune system
responds to allergens through allergy shots. Also called immunotherapy, this
process involves getting shots that contain small amounts of the allergens that
give you the most grief.

Over time, you may become desensitized to the allergens and then won’t
be as reliant on medications. The downside is that allergy shots may cause
reactions like swelling, redness, and hives. For this reason, you’ll be asked
to stay at the allergist’s office for several minutes after getting the shots
so they can make sure you don’t have a reaction.

Sublingual immunotherapy is
a shot-free option that uses daily under-the-tongue tablets instead.

let allergies trap you inside

Being outside is physically and emotionally beneficial,
regardless of your activity level. If you take a few precautions it can be
possible for you to be outside, and enjoy it, too!

The following precautions can all contribute to your health
and comfort when going outside:

  • monitoring the pollen count
  • restricting your activity level outside
  • scheduling outside activities later in the day
  • wearing a pollen mask

You can also help control the effects of allergens you might
accidentally bring into your home by doing the following:

  • use an air conditioner
  • clean air filters regularly
  • leave windows closed
  • use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
  • wash bedding once a week in hot water
  • take a shower as soon as you enter the house to
    get rid of allergens

With these few safeguards, you can enjoy being outside
during the summer, even if you have seasonal allergies.

Posted by: Dr.Health

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