DURING OUTDOOR WORKOUTS
7. Fine-tune your fitness routine: "You breathe at least twice as fast when you're working out, which means you’ll inhale even more allergens if you exercise outdoors," says Brian Smart, M.D., a Chicago allergist and AAAAI spokesperson. Morning exercisers are hit hardest of all because airborne allergens peak during the early hours, starting at 4 a.m. and lasting until noon. Because pollen rises as morning dew evaporates, the ideal time for an outdoor workout is in the mid-afternoon, says Christopher C. Randolph, M.D., a clinical associate professor at Yale University’s Division of Allergy in New Haven, Connecticut. He notes that where you work out can also matter: Exercising on the beach, an asphalt tennis court, the track at your local high school, or in the swimming pool are better options than working out on a grassy field.
8. Run right after it rains: "The best time to hit the pavement is immediately after a downpour, because the moisture washes away the pollen for up to several hour" says Gillian Shepherd, M.D., a clinical associate professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. But once the air dries, take cover: The additional moisture generates even more pollen and mold, which can hang around for a few days afterward. (Before heading out, check pollen and mold reports on aaaai.org.)
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9. Slip on shades: Not only do wraparound sunglasses shield you from harmful UV rays, they’ll also stop airborne allergens from getting in your eyes. Another way to ward off symptoms: Use allergy-relieving eyedrops, such as Visine-A ($7; drug store.com), a few hours before heading outside. This will combat histamines, which are the compounds that cause your eyes to water and itch.
10. Drink up: Fill up a water bottle or hydration pack to bring on your run, walk, or bike ride. "Fluids help thin mucus and hydrate the airways, so you won’t get as stuffed up," says William S. Silvers, M.D., a clinical professor of allergy and immunology at the University of Colorado in Denver. Then use the rest to rinse off any pollen that’s on your face and hands.