This is how to protect yourself from pollen

22. April 2023

Normally, the pollen of grasses and trees is not a problem for athletes. However, in allergy sufferers, the invisible pollen grains can trigger an overreaction of the immune system. 

The “pollen season” already begins in spring, when the hazel and alder bushes start to blossom. In April, it’s high season for trees such as willows, poplars, ash trees and birches. This is followed in May by the pollen count of beech, oak and various grasses. In summer, the pollen load slowly subsides. The pollen from grasses and trees causes the most problems, because they produce a particularly large amount of pollen, which is spread far through the air by the wind.

The symptoms of allergy sufferers are varied: annoying itching in the eyes, nose, mouth and throat, increased tear production, reddened and/or swollen conjunctiva, runny nose, violent sneezing attacks, difficulty breathing and swallowing, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, fever, fatigue, sleep disorders and much more.

However, the pollen season is no reason for an allergy sufferer to ban sports. But you may be impaired in your performance and cannot expect to be at your peak performance in competitions. In order to expose yourself to the undesirable effects of pollen as little as possible, you should follow these tips:

Avoid pollen: The most pollen is found near meadows and fields, the least in forests, especially in coniferous forests. The load is the smallest when it rains and after the rain. Most pollen flies after a period of good weather. In summer, the pollen load in the mountains is lower than in the lowlands.

Protect nasal mucous membranes: A moist nasal mucous membrane is less sensitive to pollen. Effective ointments are available at any pharmacy.

Wear glasses: Glasses with large lenses protect the eyes.

Wear long clothing:  If your skin is sensitive to pollen, it should be protected with long sleeves and trousers.

Take a shower immediately after training: First, wash out your hair while bending forward.

Do not take sportswear into the bedroom:  It also makes sense to wash your clothes after each workout and not to let the laundry dry outdoors

Medications/treatments:  In case of severe allergic reactions, a number of medications can alleviate hay fever symptoms. In addition, there are also complementary medical methods. The only therapy to treat the cause is immunotherapy (hyposensitisation). The aim of the therapy is to get the immune system used to the allergen with the help of an injection or drops. But first, you have to know which allergen to aim for. Immunotherapy lasts at least three years and requires a lot of discipline from the patient. It is covered by basic health insurance.