If you are a marathon runner and know you have allergies or hay fever, consider what you are allergic to and what the pollen count for that allergen will be when you race. If you don’t know what your allergens are, consider seeing an allergy specialist who can perform tests to determine what you are allergic to.
Try these tips to reduce or prevent allergy symptoms when you race:
• Check the pollen count to find out when your allergen levels will be highest. Try to avoid training during the times of day when pollen counts are up. Cool, cloudy days usually have lower pollen counts than warm, dry days.
• Shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to get rid of pollens after exercising outdoors.
• If you have asthma or are already taking allergy or asthma medications, talk to your health care provider about possibly increasing your doses if you will be training or competing in areas with higher than normal pollen counts.
Allergy symptoms following a marathon may seem like a minor inconvenience. But runners who experience repeated episodes of allergy symptoms may be at risk of developing exercise-induced asthma or allergic asthma. Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma and can cause coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness.
Inflammation of the airways caused by allergic asthma may be partially reversed using medication or may be a permanent condition. For people who have allergies, using appropriate medications before running a marathon can reduce allergy symptoms and lower the risk of developing more serious conditions including allergic asthma.