If you have allergies, you might feel like outdoor exercise detracts from your health more than it adds. Exercise is supposed to make you feel good. But if a quick jog or a bike ride leaves you wheezing, sneezing, and feeling miserable for hours afterwards, how healthy can it be?
But all of us -- allergic or not -- need to exercise regularly for our overall health. And the good news is that you can, even if you're exposed to outdoor allergens.
"People with allergies and asthma should be able to...
You may be allergic to only one type of grass or to many.
When Do Grass Pollen Allergies Strike?
Grasses tend to start growing in the early spring. In the late spring and early summer, they release pollen into the air. The wind can carry it for miles.
Grass pollen is microscopic. You may not see it in the air. But if you're allergic, your body may react even to small amounts.
What Makes It Worse?
Dry, windy days. Wind carries pollen in the air, especially when it's dry and sunny. When it's cold or damp, pollen counts are usually lower.
Certain foods. If you're allergic to grasses, your symptoms are more likely to be triggered by particular fruits and vegetables that have proteins like those in pollen. Fresh celery, melons, peaches, oranges, and tomatoes may give you an itchy feeling in your mouth.
Unmowed lawn. Most types of grass release pollen only when they grow tall. The pollen comes from a feathery flower that grows at the top. If you keep your lawn mowed, it's less likely to release pollen. But Bermuda grass and some other types can still release the sneezy stuff even if you keep it short.
What to Do
Get tested. It’s the only way to know if you really are allergic to grasses, or if something else causes your symptoms.
Avoid your triggers. Close windows on windy, summer days. Wear a mask when you garden.
Rethink your lawn. It may seem drastic, but if you're sure that grasses in your yard are causing your symptoms, you could remove them. It might help to replace them with bunch grasses -- like perennial rye grass and tall fescue. These types don't flower and release pollen until they're 12 inches or taller.