Archive for March, 2013

Working out during allergy season

exercise, asthma, bronchorestriction, allergies, wheezing, pollutantsWarmer temperatures are welcome relief for people ready to move their exercise regime outdoors.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma, being outdoors can become unpleasant or may interfere with your ability to work out either recreationally or competitively.

Environmental substances such as pollen, dust, mold spores and air pollution can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, and runny nose and, in extreme cases, hives, trouble breathing, cough and dizziness. Also, extremely dry air or cold temperatures can cause trouble breathing.

“People who often experience these symptoms may have exercise-induced bronchorestriction or EIB,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida. “This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma.”

Some people with EIB do not otherwise have asthma, and people with allergies may also have trouble breathing with exercise.

“It is the exposure to triggers that cause the discomfort,” says Neuzil. “So you should know what triggers your symptoms and then try to avoid them in order to not disrupt your exercise routine.”

Neuzil suggests the following:

  • Consult with an allergist prior to starting your exercise program to help determine what you may be causing your symptoms.
  • Take all allergy and asthma medications as prescribed.
  • Breathe through the nose as much as possible when exercising. The nasal passages have natural filters that will help block irritants from getting into your lungs.
  • Exercise indoors when pollen counts are high and conditions very dry or cold.
  • Always have an inhaler or other prescribed rescue medication with you in case you need it.
  • Know your early signs of symptoms so you can stop exercising before they progress to more serious ones.
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Planning your Spring Garden? Make sure it’s sneeze-proof.

For many, planting a garden is a rite of spring. The bright colors from the blooms are welcome change after a dark, dreary winter.

pollen, allergic triggers, spring allergies, sneezing, sniffles

You can plant a beautiful yet sneeze-less spring garden .

What you decide to plant could contribute to another seasonal occurrence – allergies. Pollen from certain plants often triggers the sniffles, sneezing and itchy eyes and nose associated with spring allergies.

Good news! You can still enjoy beautiful color in your yard with flowers, trees and grasses that produce little or no pollen, thereby eliminating potential for inhaling particles that cause discomfort.

Avoid adding wind-pollinated plants to your garden because their pollen becomes airborne and subsequently inhaled, irritating airways. According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, plants pollinated by insects and animals tend to have large, sticky pollen grains that are not airborne and pose less problem to allergy sufferers. In fact, most colorful flowers are insect-pollinated.

Thomas Ogren, author of The Allergy-Free Gardening, says that because the male part of the plant produces pollen, try to plant female versions which may be called “seedless” or fruitless.” Ogren explains this better in a radio interview.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has identified certain flowers, trees and grasses that are better for people who suffer from outdoor allergies. These include:

  • Cactus
  • Dahlia
  • Daisy
  • Geranium
  • Hibiscus
  • Iris
  • Magnolia
  • Roses
  • Snapdragon
  • Tulips

Avoid planting these highly-allergenic trees and grasses:

  • Ash
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Johnson grass
  • Rye grass
  • Timothy grass