With spring comes hay fever. We've got expert advice for managing your allergies this year

 

It's the season for outdoor hiking, running and biking; unless you’re one of the 20 to 25 per cent of adults suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis.

For this segment of the population, spring means nasal congestion, itching and sneezing, says Vancouver-based clinical herbal therapist, Vanessa Prescott.

“Allergies are immune reactions,” she explains. “Your body reacts to something that’s usually harmless, like dust or pollen, and releases antibodies. Then, histamines and other mediators are released into your bloodstream. That causes the classic symptoms.”

So, should allergy-sufferers boycott outdoor activities and stick to the gym?

Not necessarily. Decongestants and antihistamines help, and Prescott recommends natural remedies as a long-term solution.

“Reducing dairy is one of the best things you can do, since it encourages mucous to form,” Prescott tells Wellness Matters, adding that scientific studies have yet to confirm dairy’s impact on mucous production. “Antihistamine herbs like nettle or goldenrod also lessen symptoms.”

Prescott recommends training in the evening when the pollen count is lower and avoiding high winds. Wear sunglasses, shower and change immediately post-workout workout to prevent pollen from entering your home.

Luckily for most, allergies are no reason to stay inside, so get out and enjoy the fresh air!