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Running with allergies: How to conquer the sniffles


There’s already been talk about this year being the worst spring for allergy sufferers in North America. There are a number of things that cause itchy eyes and non-stop sneezes. This year is supposedly worse thanks to our prolonged winter and much-delayed spring. Those who have allergies (about eight million Canadians) have symptoms set off by different pollen in the air. In early spring, trees like oak and birch release their pollen. As the weather warms up though, grass pollen comes into play. Right now, we have many types of pollen hitting us all at once. And if there’s an abnormal jump in temperatures (like many places in Canada had this spring), pollen production spikes. So if you find yourself taken over by a sneeze attack after a run, now you know why. Areas of Canada that are prone to high winds have it even worse. Windy days stir up the pollen making your runs a major suffer fest. Until it all settles, here’s how to handle it:

Switch the time of your run

Pollen levels are often at their highest early in the morning. That’s not good news for runners. However if you want to find a way to not let allergies ruin the peacefulness of your run, switching the time of day might be the best. Hey, there are many perks to afternoon or evening running. You could get to like it.

Avoid routes that feature your worst triggers

If you know that tree pollen or certain types of plants really set you off, choose to steer clear or parks or wooded area for a few weeks. Instead opt for something like waterfront trail or open country road.

Know how to prevent it

Not all medication is going to have the same effect on every person. Try a few allergy meds so you know which ones work best for you. Allergies and asthma are linked for many people. If that’s you, using your inhaler leading up to full-blown allergy season might be a good preventive option.

Hop in the shower immediately after

To knock off any pollen that might be coming in the door with you. Plus, many will say that a shower helps relieve congestion.

Stay on top of the weather

Wind can be horrible for the allergy prone person. If blustery weather is on the forecast, it’s best to run in the calm before the storm in advance of when the winds pick up. If you’re expecting rain, hit the trails afterwards. Rain is great for getting rid of pollen buildup.