So, I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for about six years. I’m not a native Pennsylvanian though, and I think that’s why I have issues with the pollen this time of year.
However, it really doesn’t bug me if I’m just walking around, hanging out outside, etc. It really gets to me right after a ride, and only really my eyes. My theory is that my eyeballs are just giant pollen scoops – that they’re collecting so much stuff, my allergies are just way exaggerated.
Wearing my glasses only helps a little. Does anyone else have this problem? Do eyedrops post-ride help? I take Claritin once a day, and while this helps with just *being in town* during this time of year, it doesn’t help flush out my stinging eyeballs.
You’re about right, that you’re flinging pollen in your eyes. Also you’re breathing hard so you’re ramjetting it down your throat. And if you commute your riding in prime pollen time.
My optometrist gave me some drops that really help. Might be worth asking yours about it.
I’d ask a primary care doc or your eye doctor. It’s a pretty common problem and there are a lot of good solutions on the market now.
I feel you on the allergies thing.
1) Different allergy meds? (Zyrtec?)
2) Maybe you could try eyedrops as well as splashing water over your eyes post-ride to get rid of the pollen lurking on your eyelids and around your eyes.
3) When you say glasses, do you mean prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses? I wonder if you could try wearing some kind of very close-fitting goggle-like glasses (which don’t restrict visibility!) so the pollen doesn’t have a chance to sneak past.
Good luck! I know how miserable allergies can be.
“i hate it here. it make me sick! my hallergy, puke every time, bleagh! like that, puke!”
BTW, I’ve never been allergic to anything AFAIK, but there is something in the air for the past week or so that has my eyes watering and sometimes causes me to cough a little.
I’ve never had this happen before, so either I’m developing allergies, or it’s just the presence of the stuff that causes a problem. I am not a doctor, but I’d imagine getting particles of crap in your eyes/throat could cause some issues even if your body doesn’t react to it. Anyone know if there’s any truth to that? If so, then medication isn’t going to help… FWIW I wear glasses too.
That’s what I was thinking! Allergens or no, that many tiny particles hitting your eyes can’t be good for you.
I think I probably need to grit my teeth and rinse the hell out of my eyes every time I get done with a ride. It stings, but it does seem to help after ten minutes or so. Eyedrops are definitely the next idea…
I was born in Minnesota and lived there until I was 22. I had unbearable allergies in both the fall and the spring every year.
I moved out to California and I had no allergies at all.
Moved here and I get it bad for a few weeks real early in the spring (it is over now) and then nothing the rest of the year. Not enough for me to seek medication. I just scratch my eyes a bit and know it will go away soon. Cycling makes it way worse.
It is interesting how regional differences could be so large. I’m guessing I’m only allergic to a handful of pollens, but I don’t care enough to figure out which ones.
It’s not too hard to figure out what you’re allergic to:
But really it doesn’t do you a lot of good since you can’t really treat individual allergies with anything other than allergy shots.
Claritin never really worked for me. Zyrtec and Allegra are available now as relatively cheap OTC generics and I’ve had good luck with both.
I just figured out this week that I’m probably allergic to grasses – as this seems to be the first week this year that weather.com ranked grass pollen as “high” – , and that OTC claritin does not work for me.
I have mild pollen allergies that seem to get worse with age. A couple of things have helped me greatly reduce symptoms (depending on time of year + allergen).
-Use a neti pot to rinse the allergens out of your sinuses with a mild saline solution- be sure to research the correct type and amount of salt to use (I use 1/4 tsp food grade non-iodized salt per pot).
-Some people (including me) find seasonal local honey to have a homeopathic effect. You can get honey made from specific pollens at the co-op (e.g. ragweed, locust tree).
-I wear sunglasses and also carry little tubes of artifical tears when my eyes are irritated or dry.
+1 on Chris’ idea to try & track what you might be most allergic to.
Good luck! It is irritating!
[Edit] I know the neti pot freaks a lot of people out, but I’ve found it to be extremely effective. It’s only weird the first time or two – just remember to breathe through your mouth while doing it – super easy.
I get sinus headaches every time I ride around this time of year. My eyes are always bloodshot if i don’t wear glasses and I look stoned. I hate it.
my allergies generally flare up most with mold… so fall is the worst for me.
Local weather reports will help you track pollen levels for specific things, like grasses, weeds, trees and mold. Having that information will help you anticipate the duration of the allergy period for you. OTC medicines work differently, so if claritin doesn’t work for you, try another. Visine also makes an eye drop for allergy sufferers. It really does help stop the itch and get the red out. I even use it with contacts in, but I don’t know if that is recommended. I also find that I am much more prone to reaction to allergens if they are introduced through my eyes than through my nasal passages. So, rubbing my eyes is the worst thing I can do. Washing my hands really well with something that also breaks down oils (like dish soap) seems to help a lot. So does wiping my brow, eyes, etc with a damp cotton ball or cloth when I am done with my exposure (end of ride). All the wet weather this year has made it a bumper year for some allergens – fortunately not the ones I am most susceptible to!
I have the exact same issues you talk about. I take loratidine (Claritin) daily, but still suffer from eye allergies. Its worst after I ride hard. I have found eye drops help a lot, I have even starting carrying a small bottle in my bag or pocket. Hope you get it figured out.
Allergies seem to worsen after prolonged and repeated exposure to the allergen. I wouldn’t assume that natives are less sensitive to the local pollens. I also suffer from itchy eyes lately, and find some benefit from a post-ride rinse. Sterile saline solution is better than tap water for washing out your eyes. It stings less if it’s a little warm. I wear oakleys with pretty good coverage, and they might be some help but it’s hard to say. Small particles are another problem, as is ozone. I’ll have to try visine.
Visine-A, it has an antihistamine it, works wonders. My experience with other Visine products is that they just flush out the eyes and don’t do much for immediate relief from itching.
about ten years ago when I was diagnosed with every allergy they tested for (grasses, early trees, late tress, milk, eggs, cats, dogs, horses, cockroaches, wheat, dust mites, dust, everything)…
The only drug that helped with everything was zyrtec (not covered by my insurance). The only eye drops that helped with the itching was Patanol (which my insurance stopped covering), absolutely nothing else worked.
Eventually I ran out of sample drugs (they gave me a few months supply out of pity), and ran out of the ability to sequester myself from the planet… The thing that’s helped my allergies the most was eliminating the horrible stress I was under and dealing with the stress I was unable to eliminate – and keeping an eye on my nutrition. I’m now mostly ok with everything, unless I do something silly like dust the whole house and eat a huge quiche and mow the lawn and rub my face on kitty tummies all in the same spring day. I live with both cats and dogs, and pretty much ignore all the stuff I was tested for. When my diet goes down hill (god I love sugar) or when my stress gets out of hand, my allergies tend to flare up (which does wonders for my stress, so tricky that).
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