Allergies can destroy a cyclist's training plan. Depending on the severity, seasonal allergies can cause fatigue, make breathing labored, and interrupt your sleep.
Luckily, there are treatment options available—depending on your symptoms and severity—that will help you keep cycling strong.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergy, commonly called "hayfever", is caused by pollen released from trees, grasses and weeds. Those who suffer year-round allergy symptoms may also have allergies to insects, pets and mold spores.
When pollen and other allergens contact the outer surface of the eye (conjunctiva) and the lining of the nose, there is a cellular release of inflammatory chemicals that include histamines.
This can cause typical seasonal allergy symptoms such as allergic conjunctivitis and rhinitis, which include symptoms like itchy and red eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy/scratchy roof of the mouth and throat, post-nasal drip (mucous running down the back of throat) and coughing. These symptoms can interrupt sleep as well, causing fatigue and daytime drowsiness.
While allergy testing can be performed to identify specific allergenic types of flora, the treatment of seasonal allergy is generally the same, regardless of what allergen is found to be the cause of a person's symptoms.
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Unfortunately, short of staying completely indoors and cycling in the air conditioning, it's difficult to avoid being exposed to airborne allergens. You can try to minimize exposure to allergens by:
1. Taking a shower to rinse off pollen from hair and skin after exercise.
2. Wear a mask to filter out pollens
3. Exercise at times of the day when airborne pollen concentrations are the lowest.
The following list provide treatment options for allergic conjunctivitis and rhinitis symptoms:
1. Nasal rinsing/irrigation: Using salt water (saline) in spray bottles can help to rinse off pollen from the nasal passages, sinuses and upper throat.