The news that one of Norway’s Olympic athletes dropped out of competition due to allergies caught our attention. We wouldn’t have expected that a man who spends his days on the ski slopes would be suddenly stricken with symptoms at what is now the most famous venue for his sport.
But Aksel Lund Svindal says he began to not feel well after arriving in Sochi and attributed it to a “dust” in the air. Doctor-prescribed allergy medicine to help Svindal also affected his performance.
Prior to the Games’ start, the news media chattered about the Russians push to get host city Sochi ready for an influx of visitors. In fact, some journalists who arrived a few days before reported construction crews still working day and night to get new hotels and venues ready.
Construction can be a significant source of allergic triggers because it stirs up all sorts of pollutants including dust, mold spores and even chemicals that are used in the building process.
The fine, airborne particles can get into air ducts, on your shoes and clothes, and travel through open windows exposing people to triggers that can cause sinus discomfort and irritated eyes.
“Symptoms may include wheezing, sneezing, a runny nose and sore throat,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “For constructions workers, it’s a real problem that can be remedied somewhat by wearing face masks while working and removing clothing and showering thoroughly after work.”
The same tactics should apply if you are near ongoing construction work. Neuzil suggests carrying a saline spray with you at all times so you can discreetly rinse nasal passages of any irritants you’ve inhaled. He created an herbal-enhanced nasal spray called Dr. Neuzil’s Irrigator which had natural essential oils that will also moisturize nasal passages while rinsing.
“It’s a good idea to have a saline spray with you wherever you go,” advises Neuzil. “Especially when traveling, it’s possible you’ll pass another city’s construction sites and expose yourself to a cloud of irritants.”
If rinsing doesn’t help, Neuzil recommends trying over-the-counter antihistamines to reduce symptoms; but should they persist, visit your medical practitioner for further assessment and suggestions on relief.