With the lovely early summer weather, many are tempted to take their workouts outdoors. But if you have allergies, you may think this is not an option for you. Below we share tips for how to work out outdoors safely if running at Wissahickon Park normally makes you itchy and sneezy.
Identify Your Triggers
Getting an allergy test can determine what exactly is causing your allergy symptoms, which is the first step in practicing avoidance of triggers. Different allergens peak at different times of the day, so all you may need to adjust is when you work out.
For example, if you test positive for allergies to mold spores, it’s best to exercise outdoors during the early morning or in the evening, as mold levels tend to rise and fall with the sun.
Ragweed pollen, another common allergen, peaks in the late morning to early afternoon. So again, working out in the early morning or just before the sun goes down might be your best bet.
You can check the National Allergy Bureau, an online map from the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, to find out about the levels of common allergens in your area throughout the day.
Learn What Allergy Medications Work Best for You
If your schedule doesn’t offer enough flexibility for you to work out when allergen levels are lowest, you can look into what allergy medications might benefit you most.
Non-drowsy antihistamines, whether oral or nasal, can help relieve symptoms. Nasal antihistamines like Astelin (azelastine) are more targeted and tend to deliver the medication right where you need it rather than to your full body. They also act quickly for congestion.
Severe allergies may require an additional nasal steroid, like Flonase (fluticasone) or Nasacort (triamcinolone).
Consider Allergy Shots
For those who don’t want to take a daily medication or who don’t respond well to over-the-counter options, allergy shots are a great option. Allergy shots work by introducing small amounts of allergens into the body so that your immune system can develop a tolerance.
They are administered in two phases: the buildup phase, lasting three to six months, and the maintenance phase, lasting three to five years. At the end of your treatment, you should experience few to no symptoms.