This time of year, as much as 20 percent of Americans are suffering from ragweed allergies, or hay fever. Symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat, and even asthma attacks can make running outside difficult. But it's possible to keep running outdoors, even if you have seasonal allergies. Here are some tips to make runs more tolerable:
Avoid running on windy days. The wind spreads pollen throughout the air, so run indoors when it's windy. You may even want to avoid running outdoors the day after high winds.
Plan workouts when pollen counts are low. Pollen concentrations are usually highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Check your local pollen counts at sites such as Pollen.com. Exercise in the evening hours or after rain, which will wash pollen out of the air.
Shower right after your run. The worst allergy symptoms usually don't occur until about an hour after you come in contact with the pollen, so you may actually be able to run outdoors without experiencing symptoms. But to reduce your risk of symptoms after your run, make sure you take a shower and put on clean clothes as soon as you get back from your run. Put your running clothes right in the wash, since they're likely to be covered in pollen.
Use your allergy medications. For best results, take your allergy medications on a regular basis so you are fully protected when you do go outside. If you normally use medication (such as an oral antihistamine pill) only when you know you will be exposed to an allergen, take it a few hours before you head outdoors.
Get more tips for allergy-free runs.
- Can I Run With a Cold?
- Why Are My Legs Itchy When I Run?