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Imagine that you’re trying to get in shape, drop a few pounds, or train for that half marathon that’s just around the corner. You’re out there, passionate about your exercise, when all of a sudden you’re sneezing, wheezing, and feeling congested. Why is your healthy choice making you feel less healthy? This is what it feels like for many joggers with allergies, but it doesn’t have to.
Most outdoor allergies are largely from two sources. Animal dander, and pollen. So that’s what we’ll be focusing on.
Despite popular belief, an animal’s fur actually doesn’t trigger an allergic reaction at all. It’s actually the animal’s dander. Animal dander is loose skin skills (think, dandruff) that flake off of the animal’s skin. These dander cells then float through the air, and if you’re allergic it will trigger a reaction when inhaled.
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction to animal dander is simply learning your neighbourhood. Figure out where there are a large portion of dander producing animals and do your best to try and avoid those locations. Perhaps mapping your jogging route along a bike path instead of a dog park.
Pollen is (usually) a fine, although occasionally coarse powder produced by many plants in order to reproduce. Most allergic reaction inducing pollen is produced by grasses, weeds, and trees. While many other plants produce pollen, they tend to have much lower pollen counts and as a result aren’t often allergy-inducing.
For the most part it’s impossible to avoid pollen as an outdoor jogger. However, you can schedule your runs around when the pollen count outside is low. Even if there is pollen in the air, it needs to reach a critical mass before it is allergy inducing, which is where the Pollen Count Index is so useful. This is a count that shows how pollen is in the air in a given area. This data is freely available my most weather sites, and showcases estimated pollen count values a couple of days in advance. So experiment a little bit, figure out your threshold, and schedule your runs around days when the pollen count is known to be low.
Maybe you can’t avoid pollen or animal dander, or you have an allergy to some other outdoor allergen that isn’t covered here. Or maybe you just want to exercise whenever you please, whatever the pollen count is. Then one of the best ways to avoid an allergic reaction when jogging is to slow down. Adopt a milder pace. If you slow down, you won’t be breathing as heavily. This means you’ll be inhaling less of that particular allergen and will be less likely to have a reaction, and if you do have a reaction it will likely be much milder.
At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we assess patients for the severity of their condition, and determine a treatment. Book an assessment with our experienced ENT, Dr. Nguyen, and start feeling better.
Not only can they help resolve the current one, they can diagnose any conditions your child may have that will cause more in the future.