Wednesday, June 8, 2011

As if Breathing is not Hard Enough

As I was riding home on the yellow Centennial trail, I was reminded quite poignantly that it was allergy season. Actually, since my wife suffers from allergies and I am a pediatrician, I have been aware of this since mid-March. The yellow ponderosa pine pollen, though always shows vividly how much pollen is around us. 

As cyclists, we are all itching (no pun intended) to get off the trainers and get outside to ride. But for those with seasonal allergies, this can be a very unpleasant experience. Watery, itchy eyes. Runny nose. Sneezing. Coughing. And for some difficulty breathing, as it can be a trigger for asthma.

There are some good options now for treatment. Over the counter antihistamines are the mainstay. The newer generation (Zyrtec, Claritin and their generic equivalents) tend to not be as sedating as the oldest standy, Benadryl. For itchy eyes, there are some better choices than Visine. Patanol is now over the counter and is quite effective without the stinging and burning of quite a few other over the counter eye drops. If the over the counter stuff is not enough, then (atleast for my patients) the next step is nasal steroids. 

No, these will not improve your strength, but they may improve your times because your nose is not constantly dripping. There are many brand names of these, Flonase, Nasonex, Omnaris, Rhinocort to name a few (who gets paid to make up these names?) These are only available through prescription so you will have to see your a health care provider. Of course, if you are still not able to get control of your symptoms, go back as there are many other options and it might even be useful to see an allergy specialist. Likewise, you should see a health care provider if you are having any difficulty breathing, coughing a lot while riding as you may have some form of asthma.

Follow the yellow dust road. 

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