Thursday, April 15, 2010

Advice for the allergic runner

I've heard it on the news several times: this spring is one of the worst seasons for allergies in recent memory. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies like I do, you didn't need a news broadcast to tell you this. It has been horrible... and being a runner makes it all the more challenging. After fighting winter weather for so long, I'm not about to shut myself in the house with the air conditioning on.

So, what is the allergic runner to do?

First and foremost, I am a big believer in the power of drugs. The first day the snow starts thinking about melting, that's when you need to start hitting the allergy pills. Claritin helps me a lot, but it does seem to take time for it to work its magic. For really bad days, I have back-up drugs that I take in addition to the Claritin. The key is that it has to be non-drowsy. If it says, "may cause drowsiness," that basically means, "will knock Betsy out." That doesn't work for my normal life, much less if I'm trying to run.

I also make sure I wash my hair as soon as possible after being outside. On heavy pollen days, I feel like my hair is a big Swiffer picking up as much of that muck as possible. I need to get clean to survive.

Usually, this is enough to save me, but this season, it hasn't been enough. I drugged up, de-Swiffered my hair, and was still in agony. I went through box after box of tissues and blew my nose so many times that my skin chapped. I couldn't sleep, and I just felt crappy all the time. I know it affected my time in Springfield. How could it not have?

Desperation led me to try something new. I got a NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit. What's that? Well, it's not for the faint of heart. It's basically a squirt bottle that you fill with a salt water solution. Then, you lean over the sink, shoot the water out one nostril and feel it flow through the other, then repeat. It's not pretty, but you know? Damned if it doesn't work. If it seems weird, that's because it is. But I can't argue with results.

What about you? How do you survive seasonal allergies?

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