Pollen season is rough. Any tips?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Pollen season is rough. Any tips?


This topic contains 18 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of mbober99 mbober99 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #240161

    We’re in the middle (or maybe toward the end?) of pollen season here in the southeast and while I’m not personally allergic, I still have problems seeing and even breathing with all the particles swirling around in the air. Any tips for making mountain biking more bearable this time of year?

    In related news, 2-time Olympic MTB champ Julien Absalon just announced he was retiring from mountain biking due to his pollen allergy. Clearly pollen is no joke when it comes to mountain biking!

  • #240179

    I too live in the SE with spring pollen allergies especially in May. I try not to use any medications since they all make me drowsy. I can suggest somethings that work for me.

    1. Use over the counter allergy eye drops before your ride. This will help keep your eyes from burning and tearing up.

    2. When your ride is finished, go indoors and do another 30 minutes of aerobic exercise to help clear your lungs.

    3. If you don’t mind looking like a fool, wear a small allergy mask to cover you nose and mouth when riding.

    4. Avoid alcohol during this season.

    I have also found that staying fit and riding hard with short bursts of speed for five miles at a time, even in heavy pollen times, actually helps your body ‘acclimate’ to the situation. After a few days of this my allergies become less noticeable.

    Finally, I usually don’t push myself for new endurance goals during this time. Most of my rides involve move technical skill enhancement.


  • #240184

    I know your pain Jeff, East Tennessee is notorious for having terrible air quality this time of year. The backyard is covered in a thin yellow layer of catkins. I usually take an over-the-counter allergy relief such as zyrtec. Also stay hydrated (as always) and try to ride during the afternoon rather than morning or dusk, as pollen counts are typically higher at those times.

    I’ve never had troubles seeing, but maybe try going full enduro-bro and wear some goggles?

    Hope this helps.

  • #240185

    If you haven’t done so yet, you might consider removing most all simple sugars from your diet — sodas, raw sugar, candy, ice cream, sweet desserts, etc.  Many people have plant allergies due to high intake (or relatively high intake for their own system) of sugars.  The only problem with this approach at this point in the year is that you need to get off the sugars for several months before allergy season to see a benefit.  It may not help you, but it may be worth consideration.

  • #240186

    A thin neck gaiter pulled up over your mouth and nose works wonders. One with a skull print gives you some cred.

  • #240195

    My wife really suffers during pollen season, I never have until recently and only when riding or running.  Probably because I am pulling in so much air during exercise.  I agree with the above comment about wearing a bandana or light mask of some type that won’t affect your breathing so much.  It will help filter out a good deal of the pollen.

  • #240230

    A Neti pot helps keep the nasal passages and sinuses clean. While it dosent directly help on the bike, it helps the whole….on the bike, a buff is s good move

  • #240232

    Flonase works and you can use it as needed.   This is good because it works instantly and it does not affect the liver

  • #240236

    This will sound like one of those old unscientific grandma home remedy things, but it seems to work, if nothing else, as a placebo.  I was once told to eat honey from the area the offending pollen comes from, and that it’s a little like getting an allergy shot (inducing the very irritant to combat its affect).  I don’t suffer greatly from allergies, but when I do it’s during our ragweed season, so I grab some local honey.  Seems to work after a few days.  But hey, it may be like the Beverly Hillbilly episode (for those of you old enough to remember) where Granny is played up for having the cure for the common cold.  When it finally came out, the cure was “drink this moonshine, and in 2-3 weeks, you;re cold is gone”.  😐

  • #240244

    Local honey. Mix a big tablespoon of it into your coffee every day. It takes several weeks to gain potency.

    Georgia is full of apiaries.


  • #240245

    I have found rinsing my sinus cavities with normal saline in the evening to be helpful, Neilmed makes a unit that works well

  • #240299

    I’m from the Sandhills in NC, home of the longleaf pine. My best advice: move to Arizona, cactus don’t produce giant yellow clouds of pollen.

  • #240300

    I use an OTC store brand allergy med with pseudoephedrine. I know a lot of people don’t like pseudoephedrine, but it’s the only thing I’ve found that works for me and, generally, the meds with pseudoephedrine last 24 hours so you only take it once a day.

    The idea of riding with a mask or bandana seems like a good one, but my head and face get hot when riding and it would be uncomfortable for me.

  • #240326

    Sounds silly but go to a local bee keeper and get honey from your local area. It would take about a week or so of eating about 1TBS of it a day but it will help a TON with seasonal allergies. 😀

  • #240347

    Neti-pot, eye drops, Nasacort AQ or Nasonex (Flonase has highest rates of nose bleeds) nasal corticosteroids help.

    ’i usually take otc Allegra (fexofenadine) since it is non-drowsy every day in spring and fall.  Pseudophedrine helps with runny nose and congestion but dehydrates you and can give you constipation and incomplete bladder emptying, andcan dehydrate too so drink lots of water!

    Consuming local honey is a great idea.

    Getting tested by an allergist is the next step.  I found out I was allergic to wasp, hornets and yellow-jackets- but not honeybees.  So for 4 years I took tiny amounts of waps and vespid venom injections sub-q until I am finally immune.  You can do the same for pollens, mold, etc..

    Good luck!


  • #240353


  • #240445

    Sleep with an air filter in the bedroom to give yourself a break from “pollinated” air. This will at least give you a chance to recover from your overall allergy burden. (Google “rain barrel” theory of allergies)

    My air filter is an Austin Air HEPA with and all metal casing. No outgassing plastic in this thing.

    And I second the Neti pot!

  • #240506

    Daily doses of local honey and saline rinses have done wonders for me as well.  I still have some irritation, but nothing like it was before I started using them.

  • #240536

    Costco’s Kirkland branded allergy tablets that are copy of Zyrtec allergy pills are awesome!  full year supply for between 15 and 20 bucks.


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