Spring has sprung with longer lighter days and warmer air. This time of year also naturally leads us to spending more time exercising outside whether it’s walking, running or playing tennis. With this comes the realisation, for some, that not all time spent outdoors is enjoyable if you suffer from hay fever. Below are some top tips from www.allergyuk.org on how to tackle those dreaded side effects of outdoor allergies such as hay fever.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is a common condition that’s caused by an allergy to different types of pollen, according to the NHS. Pollen is a fine powder that’s released by plants, and it contains proteins that can irritate the nose, throat and eyes. With around 20 per cent of the UK affected by hay fever, pollen count spikes could result in large numbers of runny noses and watering eyes. It can significantly affect quality of life, work, school performance and attendance and is a risk factor for the development of asthma.
What should you do if you think you have an allergy to pollen?
- Notice the different aspects that affect the severity of your reaction such as the temperature, the rainfall amount, and even the time of day which all affect grass pollen levels.
- A good example of this to avoid running or going outside in early mornings and at evening when pollens are the highest. Consider running during or right after a rain shower, when pollen counts are lower.
- The Met Office have daily and weekly pollen counts therefore tracking and avoiding is a good strategy.
- Wear wrap around sunglasses and a hat to keep pollen and other airborne allergens away from your eyes.
- Change your clothing and shower when you return indoors to remove pollen from your body and hair.
- Pet’s, specifically dogs and cats, can carry pollen on their fur/hair which can be transferred after petting/stroking them. Wipe pets’ coats with a damp microfibre cloth to remove pollens when they have been out.
- Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important in the early mornings, when pollen is being released, and in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again.
- Hay fever can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Always take your inhaler and medication with you on your run.
- Speak to your GP about taking medications to reduce symptoms. Some medications work by blocking the allergic response (such as antihistamines) and others by reducing inflammation (such as nasal steroids).