Heading outside? Watch out for allergy triggers!
Imagine going to a picnic with your family. You settle on your red blanket and lay out all your food, but a couple suddenly walks by with a shaggy white dog on a leash. Your nose suddenly feels stuffed up or runny, your eyes water, and you start sneezing. Sounds like your allergies are acting up.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign element that otherwise wouldn’t cause a reaction in others.1 In this case, it seems like you’re allergic to pet dander .
Your immune system produces antibodies to fight off infections. Sometimes, antibodies determine that a substance is harmful even though it may not really be. Once in contact with a substance like this, called an allergen , your skin, sinuses, airways, or digestive system may become inflamed.
Allergies can be mild to severe, or life-threatening in some cases. Allergies do not have a cure but can be managed with medications1 like antihistamines such as Loratadine.
Allergens include different foods, materials, or substances found in the environment. Many of these can be commonly found outdoors and may trigger allergies when you step outside.
Outdoor activities that could trigger allergies
Outdoor exercises and sports activities may expose you to the primary sources of outdoor allergens, such as vascular plants ( pollen and spores) and fungi2.
Many plants produce powdery pollen that is easily spread by the wind and can cause allergy symptoms. In addition, molds (tiny fungi) can be almost anywhere and their spores float in the air, too, much like pollen3.
When doing outdoor activities, you may want to consider the weather as well. Pollen has less movement during windless or cloudy weather, but they spread more easily during hot, dry, and windy weather3.
You can keep your reactions to your dust and pollen allergy to a minimum by reducing contact with your triggers.4
When doing outdoor work such as gardening, lawn-mowing, or cleaning, you may find yourself in close proximity to pollen, dust, mold and other substances that could trigger allergies.
You can minimize contact with these allergens by wearing a face mask for outdoor chores, removing clothes you’ve worn outside, showering to wash away dust and pollen from your body, and avoiding hanging laundry outside where pollen can stick to the towels and sheets.4
Public transportation may be easier on the wallet but getting allergies could be costly. One study involving 32,000 children in Taiwan noted that increased exposure to traffic pollutants, like nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, can significantly increase a child’s risk of developing allergic rhinitis.5
If you think you’re allergic to pollution, it is advisable to wear a face mask while you commute.
What to do about allergies
Although allergens are all around us, there are steps you can take to manage your allergies.
- Time your activities well. The best time to do outdoor activities is after a good rain since it helps clear pollen in the air4. Best avoid early morning outdoor activity as it’s when the pollen counts are highest4.
- Check for pollen forecasts from your local TV and radio stations as well as the internet4.
- Stay indoors when you know that the pollen and mold counts are high. When long periods of exposure cannot be avoided and your symptoms are severe, wear a pollen mask3.
- Carry an antihistamine at all times, so you’re prepared in case allergies strike when you’re on-the-go.
Loratadine (ClaritinⓇ), is an antihistamine that is used to manage allergic rhinitis , and allergic skin symptoms.
Loratadine (Claritin®) works in as fast as 15 minutes and lasts for up to 24 hours.6,7 Loratadine (Claritin®) is ideal for those who go outside to work, go to school and play during the day, as it is non-drowsy vs. other antihistamines such as cetirizine and first-generation antihistamines.7,8 Loratadine (Claritin®) is also available in syrup format for kids.
There are many environmental elements that trigger allergy: dust, smoke, pollution, pet dander , pollen, mold and so much more. But there are also a number of ways that you can prevent allergic reactions whenever you’re outdoors. It is also useful to keep an antihistamine like Loratadine (Claritin®) on hand. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
ASC Ref. No. B0072P040323C
- Allergies, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351497#:~:text=Allergies%20occur%20when%20your%20immune,produces%20substances%20known%20as%20antibodies, Accessed 26 Sept 2022
- Outdoor Allergens, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1637672/#:~:text=Primary%20sources%20for%20outdoor%20allergens%20include%20vascular%20plants%20(pollen%2C%20fern%20spores%2C%20soy%20dust)%2C%20and%20fungi%20(spores%2C%20hyphae)., Accessed 20 Mar 2023
- Outdoor allergens, https://www.aaaai.org/tools-for-the-public/conditions-library/allergies/outdoor-allergens-ttr, Accessed 20 March 2023
- Seasonal allergies : Nip them in the bud, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343, Accessed 20 Mar 2023
- Traffic Fumes Linked to Childhood Allergies, https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news-archive/2006/traffic-fumes-linked-to-childhood-allergies, Accessed 20 Mar 2023
- Sur, Denise K C, and Monica L Plesa. “Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis .” American family physician vol. 92,11 (2015): 985-92.
- Haria, Malini, et al. “Loratadine.” Drugs, vol. 48, no. 4, 1994, pp. 617–637., https://doi.org/10.2165/00003495-199448040-00009.
- Kawauchi, H.; Yanai, K.; Wang, D.-Y.; Itahashi, K.; Okubo, K. Antihistamines for Allergic Rhinitis Treatment from the Viewpoint of Nonsedative Properties. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 213. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010213.