Ten top tips for running with hay fever

Hay fever is a type of allergic reaction caused by pollen in the air. Grass pollen is the most common allergen (May to August), but tree (February to June) and weed (April to September) pollens can also cause allergic reactions. allergy-18656_960_720

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

Symptoms include, itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, blocked or runny nose, watery eyes, headaches, blocked sinuses, shortness of breath, tiredness and the sensation of mucus running down the back of the throat. Between 20% and 25% of the population suffer with hay fever, albeit at different levels of severity, so you are not alone!

Hay fever can make running very tough and challenging. When running, you breathe more deeply, and so inhale more pollen which can make symptoms worse. 

Here are our top ten tips for running with hay fever:

1. Keep an eye on the pollen count. The Met Office website will list areas as High, Medium or Low, depending on the amount of pollen in the air. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/pollen-forecast/#?tab=map

2. Do you know what your pollen tolerance level is? You night want to rethink the timing of your run sessions. Early morning and evening are worst for pollen build-up, so consider changing the time of your run, or on particularly high pollen days consider switching to an indoor activity such as spinning or swimming.

3. Eat locally produced honey and drink nettle tea to build up immunity to local pollen.

4. Take antihistamines if required and try a low histamine diet. Some foods are naturally high in histamine so cutting them out prevents overload on the body.

5. Wind can whip up pollen, so you might want to avoid running if it’s really windy.

6. Rain is good! Run after the rain as the rain will dampen the pollen down.

7. Choose your route carefully. You might want to avoid areas where certain plants are (if you know what sets your hay fever off), but urban areas may have higher concentrations of air pollution too. See what works best for you. 


8. Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of the eyes. Some people say using eye drops an hour or so before the run can help too. You can try putting some Vaseline up your nose to stop pollen from getting up there.

9. If you need an inhaler, make sure you take one with you. 

10. Shower after your run to get rid of the pollen. Wash your clothes and avoid hanging them outside to dry if the pollen level is high.

As usual, drink plenty of water and take it easy when it’s hot. 

Happy running!

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