Don’t let pollen and mold keep you from training this spring.
At last—the warm days of spring! Time to put the bike trainer back in the attic, hit the open trails, and…sneeze.
For those with seasonal allergies, early-season training can be a challenge. Seasonal triggers like mold and pollen can create a host of symptoms: inflammation in the airways, runny nose, itchy throat, coughing and shortness of breath. Exercise adds to the stress placed on the airways, says Dr. Mark Millard, a pulmonologist at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and the Medical Director of the Martha Foster Lung Care Center.
“If your airways are already inflamed [from allergy triggers], you can imagine how exercise during your peak allergy season can really bring some athletes to a screeching halt.”
For most, allergy symptoms can be minimized with simple precautions. Don’t let the sniffles derail your training—get a jump-start on seasonal allergies with these simple tips:
Know Your Triggers
If you notice symptoms of allergies every year, visit an allergist. This doctor, who has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, can perform specialized testing to help you identify just what you’re allergic to. This, in turn, can ensure you’re getting the right treatment.
“Skin or blood tests for allergies can help pinpoint the seasons where medication may be needed, or if allergies are present at all,” says Millard, who warns that not all allergy symptoms are caused by the seasonal triggers many assume. “Many of the allergens that increase airway inflammation leading to exercise-triggering are actually indoors: cats, dogs, dust mites and mold can really set the stage for a bad attack outdoors, because of the inflammation set up by daily exposure to these allergens.”