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10 Outdoor Adventures With Allergies

Avoid allergy symptoms at outdoor events.


Prevent by: Take allergy medicines before the event. But because the symptoms triggered by the exhaust are not a true allergic reaction, an over-the-counter decongestant may help relieve symptoms better than an antihistamine. Be sure to also take a bottle of saline nose spray.

Once there: Use the nose spray to help pollen and exhaust-related problems.

Challenge #5: Horseback Riding

The problem: If you're at the local stables, or riding horses on vacation, three key allergens may affect you. There's pollen (from nearby trees, grasses, and weeds), the hay, and the horse dander.

Prevent by: Two hours before you go, take an over-the-counter antihistamine that won’t make you drowsy. Or if you have a prescription antihistamine or steroid nasal spray, use that. The prescription steroid nasal spray can take a week or two to produce its full effect.

Before you leave, wash your hands thoroughly.

Once there: Don't pet the horses, then touch your face. That could set off allergic symptoms. What if you get an allergy attack anyway? Use your antihistamine. And if that doesn’t work, leave the stables.

Challenge #6: Hiking

The problem: Pollens from grasses, weeds, and trees may bother you along the trails. Check the pollen count before you go. With the Internet now, links to local pollen counts are common.

Just notice if the count is low, medium, or high. If they're expecting a high pollen count, that's not the best day for you to go on an outdoor adventure.

Prevent by: If the count is low, take your allergy medicines before setting out.

Once there: If allergy symptoms crop up, it's best to head home and hike on another day.

Challenge #7: The Zoo

The problem: In general, most zoo visitors will probably not be allergic to the animals, because of a lack of exposure.

Preventive action: If you're on allergy medicines, be sure to take them before setting out to the zoo. That's especially true for those with known sensitivity to cats.

Once there: If symptoms bother you once you're there, the best course of action is to leave.

Challenge # 8: Walking in the Rain

The problem: Mold thrives where it’s moist. So if mold kicks up your allergies, avoid walking where sidewalks are covered with moldy vegetation such as leaves and grasses.

Prevent by: Taking any allergy medicines ahead of time can help. Take them along, too.

Once there: If allergy symptoms kick up, get out of the rain, experts say. Or, try your over-the-counter saline nose spray to see if that brings relief.

Challenge #9: Day at the Beach

The problem: It’s not common, but in some people, sun exposure can bring on hives. There may be no physical symptoms, or the skin may have sores.

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