7 Tips to Enjoy the Outdoors With Spring Allergies
When the mercury rises each spring, people who have been cooped up all winter head outside to enjoy the warmer temps.
Unfortunately, for millions of people spring also means the return of seasonal allergies. Symptoms can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities. A simple outing can feel like a minefield of weed pollen, tree pollen, grass pollen and mold spores.
So, what’s an outdoor allergy sufferer to do? Staying indoors 24 hours a day isn’t realistic. Getting outside is good for your mood and long term health.
In fact, the American Heart Association has dubbed April “Move More Month”. They encourage people to get moving and set a goal of at least 10,000 steps or 20 minutes of exercise per day. That much movement is easier to accomplish if you go outside.
Let’s look at ways to stay symptom-free outdoors this spring, even if you sneeze at merely the thought of a flower bud.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
First, let’s recap why some people react to otherwise harmless substances in the environment. Allergy symptoms occur when your immune system reacts to particles around you, like mold or types of pollen. Pollen is the tiny grains released by trees, grasses and weeds, which act as fertilizers.
Sometimes, the human immune system mistakes pollen for a threat and produces antibodies to fight against it. That reaction releases histamines into the blood steam, which causes symptoms like itchy, water eyes and a runny nose.
In the United States, spring is when trees, grass and weeds pollinate. Depending on where in the U.S. you live, this can start in February and last into the beginning of summer.
The first pollen released is typically tree pollen. Grass pollen follows in late spring. Ragweed is the most common culprit later in summer. Mold spores can trigger reactions in spring, summer or fall.
If you’re not sure whether your symptoms are caused by illness or allergic rhinitis, the list below may help.
Cold-like symptoms such as a cough or stuffy head that last longer than a week or two are a red flag that you may have more than a virus. Talk to your health care provider if you need more guidance.
Allergy symptoms include:
- Itching in eyes, ears, nose and mouth
- Red or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose (clear, thin nasal discharge)
To determine what you’re allergic to, your doctor may perform skin testing, also called skin prick test or SPT, or allergen-specific blood test (specific IgE blood test). Once you know what’s causing the reaction, you know what to avoid.
7 Tips to Avoid Outdoor Allergy Triggers
- Check the pollen count before you go outside. Your local weather forecast or pollen count app will let you know when pollen levels are high. Try to plan outside activities for times when pollen levels are low.
- Wear protective clothing. A hat and wraparound glasses or sunglasses help protect your face and eyes.
- Wear an N-95 mask during outdoor activities to cut down on the amount of pollen you inhale through your nose and mouth.
- Keep indoor spaces clean. Pollen can get inside through open windows, doors and air conditioning vents. Wipe down interior surfaces often to reduce pollen in your home or workspace. Air purifiers can also help.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps keep your throat and nasal passages moist, which helps minimize symptoms.
- Consider immunotherapy. Allergy shots can reduce allergy symptoms over time for some people. Your doctor can determine if this is an option for you.
- Use natural remedies. Some time-tested remedies, such as saline nasal sprays, steam inhalation and neti pots, can help alleviate symptoms.
Natural remedy recommendations
While it’s not possible to avoid allergy triggers 100% of the time, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to either stay inside or suffer an allergic reaction.
Over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays and prescription allergy medicines can ease symptoms, but can have undesirable side effects.
Natural remedies are a safe alternative. Nasal irrigation with a neti pot can help get rid of mucus and open up sinus passages. Other traditional remedies include local honey and medicinal herbs such a butterbur and stinging nettle. Acupuncture and other alternative treatments may also help lessen symptoms.
Here are a few of our favorite natural medicines for allergies: Allergy & Sinus From Native Remedies
Mucus-Clear™ Allergy Relief is a 100% homeopathic allergy relief remedy formulated with triple potency. It relieves sneezing, nasal congestion, excess mucus and eye itchiness.
Mucus-Clear™ is a 100% homeopathic medicine designed to give short-term relief from symptoms of sinus pressure, headaches and stuffy nose caused by allergy.
AllergiClear-S™ is an herbal supplement created to support healthy respiratory function, skin and immune system.
InstaClear Sinus Relief™ is an herbal remedy to support clear, healthy sinuses during colds, allergies or hay fever.
The key to enjoying the outdoors this spring is to avoid allergy triggers and manage your symptoms effectively. If you take the necessary precautions and use the right remedies, you can comfortably enjoy the great outdoors in April and throughout the rest of the year.
- “Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed March 29, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343
- “Move More Month April 2023.” National Today. Accessed March 29, 2023. https://nationaltoday.com/move-more-month/
- “What triggers seasonal allergies?” NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Accessed March 29, 2023. https://magazine.medlineplus.gov/article/what-triggers-seasonal-allergies
- “Pollen Allergy.” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. March 29, 2023. https://www.aafa.org/pollen-allergy/