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Hiking with Spring Pollen Allergies

Spring is slowly arriving in coastal Virginia and the pollen is killing me.

At this exact time last year, on a weekend 2-nighter backpacking loop called "Three Ridges", just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, I thought I was dying from the flu or something, later deduced pollen or something.

I'm headed out for another weekend loop next week, any recommendations?

Ha, the symptoms, seem to mimic the issue "that must not be named".

thanks in advance.

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
11 Replies

I've had that issue most of my life!  Grew up in one of the world's allergy capitals, the Mississippi River valley in the plains.  Moved to Alaska, and found I wasn't near as allergic to the stuff that grows there.  Discovered there was a sense of smell!  Who knew the world has odors??  Unfortunately, I found this out during our first breakup, where months of frozen dog walking remnants all thaw out at the same time!  

Moved to Florida, and right back into allergy area.  A couple of years back, decided to go to an allergist, because NOTHING was working for me.  They did a scratch test, inoculating my back with a whole bunch of different allergens.  The idea is you get local inflammation at the sites containing stuff you're allergic to.  My whole back lit up!   They were astonished;  the nurse told me she'd never seen anyone allergic to so many things!  (The doctor said he had, but only a few)  Every grass.  Every weed, except Goldenrod (huh??).  Almost every bush, all the trees, my cats and dogs, but not horses.  Only a few molds.  So, basically, I'm allergic to the outdoors.

Fexofenadine, 250 mcg (I think) helps a lot. It's expensive, but it works, and isn't prescription.  So does fluticasone propionate nasal spray, for the nasal cavities.  This one's prescription. For the most part, this takes care of things, but I do also have an antihistamine eyedrop for when things get really bad.  Don't have the name handy, since I don't use it near as much as I thought I would;  mostly during pine and oak pollen season, when everything around turns greenish yellow from the pollen precipitation. 

I'd start with the over the counter Fexofenadine first, since it's readily available.  Odds are that's all you'd need, unless you're cursed like me.  If so, then a visit to an allergist is going to be well worth it!

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@Hikes_in_Rain  thank you, is there a brand name associated with Fexofenadine?

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
0 Likes

Several brand names!  I use CVS as a pharmacy, and get their brand.  Same antihistamine, but a little cheaper.  Walgreens also has their own brand. 

Did a quick search;  there's a boatload of brands! 

Aller-ease, Aller-Fex, Wal-Fex Allergy, Children's Wal-Fex, Allegra Allergy, Allergy Relief (fexofenadine), Children's Allegra Allergy, and Children's Allergy Relief(fex)

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
0 Likes

thank you, (duh, I guess I could have searched, sorry)

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes

Not an issue!  More than happy to help.  The key is to check the ingredients list.  Most of them will have Fexafedimine below the brand name, which makes it easier.  Then just get the cheapest one.

 

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@Philreedshikes @Hikes_in_Rain 

This is a great topic and highly applicable to my life as well. Thanks for posting!

My wife has really bad seasonal allergies that have made going outside nearly impossible. We had the opposite situation from @Hikes_in_Rain, however, as her allergies were manageable until we moved to Alaska and that's when they got really bad. She was recently tested by an allergist as well and her three biggest allergies are: cold, birch trees, and pine. And before you ask, it's called Cold Urticaria and I didn't know it was a thing either. It definitely is though! Also, since you're familiar with Alaska, you'll know that means that for 8 months out of the year it feels like the weather is trying to kill her and for the remaining 4 months all the trees are!

Her doctor is having her take a Claritin every day now and that has seemed to help a little bit. Her father has severe allergies and gets a shot every year for them that helps greatly. She will likely end up going that route this spring.

Again, thanks for the topic and good discussion!

John

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

wow, glad it's not just me! lol

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
0 Likes

I had no idea you could be allergic to cold! But glancing through some literature, you sure can.  Or at least it can be treated as such.  Wow, that's gotta suck up there!  And I thought I had problems!

My allergist recommended the shots as well, but changed his mind when he found out we're moving.  Good chance I might be less allergic in the areas we're considering.

Please tell your wife best of luck with from me!

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
0 Likes

My Scratch Test.JPG

 

 

 

Forgive me for bringing this back up, but I finally found the picture of my back during the scratch test!

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.