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Allergy fighting tips
Do you love the great outdoors, but don't feel so great out there during allergy season?
To help prevent their symptoms from acting up, gardeners, adventurers and outdoor exercisers with seasonal allergies may benefit from planning ahead before engaging in their favorite activities.
By taking a few precautions in advance, people with a green thumb can steer clear of red, watery eyes. And runners, hikers, golfers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts who have seasonal allergies can safely pursue their passions.
"The keys are to be smart about allergen exposures and minimize them as much as possible," said Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital's Allergy Associates in Boston.
Patil offered the following seven tips on how outdoor lovers can remain active during allergy season.
Know exactly what you're allergic toSlide 2 of 15
Know exactly what you're allergic to
People with allergic rhinitis may be sensitive to specific types of pollen from trees, grasses, weeds and mold spores. Trees release pollens first, usually from late winter into spring or early summer, depending on the location. Grasses typically pollinate next, in late spring and early summer. Weeds — such as ragweed, the most common cause of hay fever — pollinate in late summer and early fall. These plants produce large quantities of pollen, and the grains are light, so they can be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles and can be easily inhaled.Slide 3 of 15
Be able to identify your allergen by sightSlide 4 of 15
Be able to identify your allergen by sight
To limit exposure, know the look of the plants to which you're allergic, Patil suggested. If you're a hiker, know what type of vegetation, plants and trees are found in the areas you'll be heading into. You might decide to either premedicate, by taking a nonsedating antihistamine the evening before or the morning of your hike, or by picking somewhere else to go, she said.Slide 5 of 15
Pay attention to pollen countsSlide 6 of 15
Pay attention to pollen counts
"Pollen counts are pretty accurate, and have become a regular part of weather forecasts these days," Patil told Live Science. So people with allergies should keep an eye on them. Pollen levels are higher on dry, warmand windy days, and lower on cloudy, rainy and windless days — making those days best for people with seasonal allergies who want to enjoy outdoor activities, she explained.Slide 7 of 15
Time your activity appropriatelySlide 8 of 15