How to care for allergies and exercise injuries this spring

It’s officially springtime — with winter behind us and warmer weather on its way — but springtime also signals other things like allergies and spring training injuries as a result of well-meaning attempts at getting outside and exercising. Instead of dwelling on those parts of spring, let’s focus on how to proactively keep you healthy and active.


This time of year often signals yearly spring cleanings, springtime blooming of flowers and greenery, and springtime exercise as the weather allows us to enjoy extended time outside again. But the reintroducing of those activities also renews unpleasant after effects like allergies and exercise injuries. As good as our intentions are to enjoy more time outdoors, keeping an eye on a few things is a necessity to staying healthy as the weather changes.


When it comes to allergies, a large majority of Americans are affected. As of 2021, it’s estimated that around 81 million people in the U.S. — including 67 million adults and 14 million children — were diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever or seasonal allergies. This occurs as a reaction to pollen in the air, like from trees or grass.1 With trees, flowers, and plants starting to bloom this time of year, allergic reactions are starting to intensify.


Allergies show up when the body’s immune system misidentifies a harmless foreign substance as being harmful. The substance, like pollen, can get trapped in the nasal passage and when it comes in contact with mucus membranes, it causes an inflammation reaction within your skin, sinuses, or airways.2 That’s when you start to feel those common allergy symptoms like sneezing, red or watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, or itchy eyes, nose, or mouth.


While there is no cure for allergies, there are options to treat their symptoms as well as ways to avoid some exposure to them. Treatments for allergies include things like over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids that can alleviate symptoms. You can also try a nasal saline irrigation, like a neti pot, to push a saline solution through the nasal passage to clear out any mucus. Since allergies aren’t curable, you can do your best to avoid the exposure to them with these recommendations:


  • Know which pollens you’re sensitive to and check pollen counts when you know you’ll be outside for a period of time. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, pollen counts are typically higher in the evening during springtime.4
  • When you’re indoors or in a car, keep windows shut.
  • Wear a NIOSH-approved filter mask when you’re outside doing spring chores like mowing the lawn or gardening.
  • After spending time outside, shower and change your clothes so you limit exposure to any allergens that may have come in contact with your skin or clothes.


Another thing to note with this particular spring: the milder winter temperatures we’ve had may mean a longer spring allergy season. These temperatures can cause pollination early, as can a rainy spring. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology notes a few effects the weather can have on allergies2:

  • Cool nights and warm days allow for favorable conditions for tree and grass pollens to thrive
  • Rainfall causes pollen counts to increase
  • Days without wind cause airborne allergens to settle, but…
  • Warm and windy days often create an increase in pollen counts


Though the beginning of springtime may have negative effects for those with allergies, it does also encourage a different positive effect: more people outside becoming more active again through a resurgence of exercise. The National Recreation and Park Association reports that over half of U.S. adults identify being less active over the winter5.  This means that when spring rolls around, more than half of U.S. adults are tasked with getting back in shape by resurrecting exercise routines.


Though the resurgence of exercise is a good thing, especially being able to be outside for it, the risk for injuries is there if you don’t do it in the right way. From sore muscles to sprains and strains to even more serious injuries, make sure you’re taking care of yourself as you amp up outdoor workouts. Injuries can be caused by a myriad of reasons, like inadequate warming up beforehand, overuse injuries from repetitive motions and not varying workouts, using improper form or equipment, not giving yourself enough rest time, pushing yourself too hard, and more. Here are a few things you can do to exercise safely when you’re getting back into it.


  • Warming up before an exercise will help get your blood flowing slowly and warm up your muscles to help avoid injury. Start slowly and prepare your body for exercise by starting at a slower pace. Don’t forget to cool down after a workout, too, to allow your body to slowly get back to your normal heart rate and body temperature.
  • If you’re getting back into working out after a period of inactivity, start with lower intensity workouts that will be easier on your muscles and joints, like walking, swimming, or riding a bike.
  • Use proper form and equipment. You may automatically think of strength machines when we say this, and while that is important, it’s not the only thing to consider. Even activities like running have proper and improper form and equipment to consider. For example, the wrong pair of running shoes for your specific form, gait, and feet can cause havoc for your lower body.
  • Cross train. If you’re trying to get into an overall healthy routine, incorporate several different types of exercises to avoid overuse injuries. Running is great for you, but if all you do is run, you’ll overuse the same muscles repetitively and won’t gain muscle mass like you will with strength training. If you don’t add in something like yoga, you may be missing out on flexibility and breathwork.
  • Listen to your body. If it’s telling you something is off, listen to it! Take care of injuries right away. Letting them linger can make them turn into worse problems down the road. If you sustain a minor injury, use the RICE method. Rest the injury so it doesn’t get worse. Ice it to reduce swelling and inflammation. Apply compression bandage to minimize swelling, and elevate the injury to promote blood flow.


When it comes to starting over in terms of working out, keep it easy, light, and simple at first. Underestimate your abilities so you don’t go too hard right away and increase times, weights, and distances slowly as your body gets more and more used to it. While there’s no doubt that there’s excitement in the air for the warmer weather of springtime, be aware of the subsequent allergies and possible spring training injuries so you can enjoy this time of year.





  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergy Facts and Figures
  2. Yale Medicine. Seasonal Allergies (Allergic Rhinitis)
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Allergies
  4. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Seasonal Allergies
  5. National Recreation and Park Association. New Survey: Majority of U.S. Adults are Less Active During the Winter.

← Older Post