It seems like nearly everyone suffers from some type of allergy these days, and it’s no wonder that respiratory allergens top the list, what with toxic chemical pollutants and carbon emissions filling the air and pollen from non-native plants muddling up the natural environment. The unfortunate result of mankind’s folly when it comes to these areas is that more and more people suffer from outdoor and seasonal allergies, making it difficult to enjoy the natural settings that help us to relax, de-stress, and get away from the rigors of work. But when your job is performed outside the office (or any other structure), you may have an even more difficult time reconciling your allergies with your professional pursuits. So here are just a few tips to help allergy sufferers that have to face their condition on a daily basis in order to bring home the bacon.
The place that most people start is with medication. And there are several options available to those that suffer from outdoor allergies. Whether pollen or pollution is to blame, you could opt for any number of daily pills or nasal sprays meant to combat symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, sneezing, itching, dripping, sinus pressure, and so on. Of course, these can come with side effects. Nasal sprays, if not used correctly, can lead to frequent and severe nosebleeds. And antihistamines and other ingestible pharmaceuticals can make you drowsy, or alternately leave you feeling jittery and unable to rest at night. Some have even more serious side effects, such as anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, and even infertility, although such cases are rare.
Another option, however, is called desensitization, and it involves forced exposure to allergens over time in order to help your body build up the tolerance needed to produce a proper immune response. This is accomplished through a series of injections spanning several months or even years. It begins with frequent injections, say a couple of times a week, and then tapers off until you’re only receiving shots every few months. The end result, if everything goes according to plan, is that you will come out of the experience allergy-free. This is a good option for allergy sufferers who plan to spend their entire career working outside (it’s either that or a lifetime of medication to look forward to).
In truth, modern medicine does not always provide the answer. For some people this solution simply doesn’t work. In this case you will need to treat your symptoms in an ongoing capacity. But short of carrying tissues and eye drops everywhere, what can you do to continue working outdoors despite your allergies? Well, you can certainly install equipment in your home that will provide a safe haven at least part of the time (including a filtered HVAC system, a Danby 70 pint dehumidifier, an air purifier in every room, and even a Neti pot to flush your sinuses). But what about when you’re stuck outside? In this case you may want to consider wearing a mask of some sort (a basic paper mask should be enough to filter out large pollen particles). However, you could also try holistic treatments like Buteyko breathing to clear your airways and supplements like butterbur and goldenseal, which are herbal antihistamines.