I’m beginning to sneeze already! As soon as March kicks in and the tree pollens start to appear, hay fever can begin to interrupt exercise. If you’re unlucky, the sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose can go on until October. You can feel grumpy, lethargic and not in the least like exercising and being outdoors just makes things worse. What can you do to get rid of hay fever symptoms? How can you stop hay fever affecting your exercise plans and performance? In this week’s #quickquestion I’m sharing my four Cs for exercising with hay fever.


Keep an eye on the pollen forecast; the Met Office in the UK publishes one daily. You will begin to find out what level of pollen you can tolerate and on the worst days you can then opt to exercise indoors if you prefer. You can also choose to exercise when the count is lower, on cooler days and after rain. Less wind helps too because the pollen isn’t blown about so much.


Try to minimise the contact that pollen has with your body. Wrap-around sunglasses will stop the pollen getting into your eyes and a hat with a brim will limit what reaches your face. If you can tolerate it, then cover your nose with a light scarf or apply a dab of vaseline to your nostrils to trap pollen.


Get rid of any pollen on you as soon as you can. Shower and wash your hair. Put your kit in the wash and avoid drying it outside on a washing line where it will gather pollen again; dry it indoors instead. Some people find that using a salt water nasal wash to clear  their nasal passages helps reduce hay fever symptoms too.


… to your pharmacist. There’s a whole range of hay fever products on the market and the majority can be bought over the counter. You can focus on the symptom that’s giving you the most trouble and go for an eye drop or a nasal spray. Alternatively, or in addition, you can use something that works through the whole body such as an antihistamine tablet. Most remedies need to be used regularly to be effective. Your pharmacist can give you personalised advice about what will suit you best and make sure it’s safe for you to use alongside any existing medical conditions or other medications you’re taking.

Remember, Count, Cover, Clean and Chat. I hope the four ‘Cs’ will help keep you active over this hay fever season. How much does hay fever affect your exercise? Do share your tips too in the comments below, I’d love to hear them and so would fellow hay fever sufferers!

There are more answers to questions like these and lots of health information to help you lead a happy and active life in my book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health. Published by Bloomsbury and awarded First Place in the Popular Medicine category at the British Medical Association Medical Book Awards 2018.


Disclaimer: I can’t give personal medical advice and as always with health advice, reading something online doesn’t replace seeing your doctor who knows your medical history and can assess you in person.  So, if you are unsure then always seek the opinion of a health care professional. 

Featured image: Gratisography

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