Welcome to Hayfever Season!   1 comment

It’s approaching that time of year when green leaves are budding, plants are growing like crazy, beautiful flowering displays are everywhere … and I have to use my wiper blades every morning and afternoon to clean off the layer of pollen on my windshield. I could smell hints of flower perfume along my last run, so when I got home I immediately went into hayfever-prevention mode. I do not generally have hayfever. My first two years of high school are actually the only years of my life whenI have had bad hayfever, and I figured out long ago that it was a psychosomatic issue. For years I would have an occasional, or semi-regular, sneezing itchy-eye day, but I never really paid attention. Last year I finally started paying attention to my symptom patterns. I realized that whether I was at work or at home I would have no allergy symptoms all day long, I would go for a walk or a run and I would feel fine, but then while stretching afterwards I would all of a sudden develop a runny nose, sneeze, and red, itchy eyes. Repeat the next day.

I developed a hayfever-prevention strategy for myself when I realized that my hayfever was only flaring up after exercising outdoors (which I am absolutely not going to give up just because of red eyes and sniffles). During the pollen season, IMMEDIATELY after my run I take off my shirt, wash my face with cold water, and neti pot my sinuses. Later, I give my hair a thorough brush with my boar bristle hairbrush and/or I rinse my hair.

  • Removing my shirt prevents continued exposure to any pollen that could have gotten trapped in the fibers of the shirt while outdoors.
  • Rinsing my face, and sometimes even the exposed arms, is a crucial part of my strategy. Without this step my eyes are almost guaranteed to get itchy and inflamed. Also, if I rinse using warm water it has to be followed by a cool water rinse because the warm water alone will exacerbate the inflammation in my eyes.
  • Irrigating my sinuses is, as I have found, the most reliable way to stop hayfever in its tracks. I know that a lot of people think that neti pots are gross, or sound uncomfortable to use, but they really aren’t. It is a small pot in which you put a particular amount of salt and warm water to match the salinity and temperature of the sinuses. Then you put the spout of the pot in one nostril, lean over a sink, and let water from the neti pot run in one nostril and out the other. When I’m done – no sneezing! All (or most) of the little pollens that would have created an allergic reaction in my sinuses have been rinsed out, leaving me clean breathing.
  • Hair brushing or rinsing is for me kind of an extra step since I run with my hair in a ponytail. I figure that my hair isn’t really entrapping a lot of pollen, and I don’t usually notice problems if I don’t deliberately try to remove any pollen present. But since this step is one sited commonly in allergy prevention articles, I usually do it for good measure.

Posted March 17, 2010 by mayakey in health

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One response to “Welcome to Hayfever Season!

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  1. I heart the Neti pot 🙂

    Carmela Chavez Liberman

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