How to get through spring without sneezing – How people allergic to pollen can reduce discomfort during outdoor activities

allergic to pollen

(djd). Finally, the time has come to be outdoors again. In spring, days get longer, temperatures rise, leaves turn green, enticing you to take a walk, ride your bike, go jogging or engage in many other outdoor activities. However, as people become active again, so do trees and plants which has a detrimental affect on people allergic to pollen. Tree pollen from poplar, willow, birch, beech, oak and pine, as well as pollen from dandelion and rapeseed cause running noses and tearing eyes.

Immune system goes into alert mode

Hay fever patients usually do not get to enjoy vernal outdoor activities, especially since breathing increases when exercising, allowing even more pollen to get into the respiratory system. There, the actually harmless plant parts cause an overreaction of the allergic person’s immune system which leads to the typical, agonizing discomforts such as sneezing attacks, itching eyes, running or congested nose. An effective treatment is then absolutely necessary to restore quality of life and prevent the development of asthma.

The most common medication are antihistamines. Often, however, they do not provide complete relief or patients suffer from adverse reactions such as fatigue and dryness of the mouth. The root extract of locoweed (astragalus) might be an alternative. “Astragalus extract helps in 89 percent of all cases,” says Hartmut Dorstewitz, MD, general practitioner and specialist for naturopathic treatment. “Additionally, the extract has an excellent tolerability.” The natural remedy decreases the sensitivity against pollen by counterbalancing the immune system’s reaction and thus reducing the allergy symptoms.

Tips for outdoor activities

There are other protective measures allergy sufferers can take outdoors other than taking the appropriate medication. In the countryside, the amount of pollen is lowest in the evening, in the city in the morning. Outdoor training after a rain shower is less stressful because there are less pollen in the air.

If the amount of pollen in the air is very high, it might be better to go to a fitness studio and train inside than take a long bike tour through blooming meadows. If you experience coughing or shortness of breath while exercising, you should stop and, if necessary, see a physician.


Simply rinsing off pollen

(djd). If you are allergic to pollen and you have spent an entire day outdoors, you often suffer from the aftereffects throughout the night. Tiny pollen attach themselves to clothes, hair and nose and continue to affect your health at home. Here’s what you can do against it:  

  1. Change and wash or keep your clothes outside the apartment after engaging in outdoor activities.
  2. Shower and wash your hair immediately after getting home. This rinses off pollen that have attached themselves to you.
  3. Rinse your nose with salt water to remove pollen from your nasal mucous membranes. This can also reduce swelling. It’s easiest with a nasal douche, available at your pharmacy.
  4. Hay fever patients should regularly stay informed about the current pollen counts in the air.

Photo credits: djd/Allvent/absolutimages –; djd/Allvent/karepa –

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