2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – April 2003

Stop Your Sniffling: Allergy Advice

Don't let itchy eyes and a sneeze-machine nose ruin your hike. Here's our guide to keeping allergies at bay.

by: Tim Neville

PAGE 1 2

> Trees release billions of pollen cells in early spring, often before leaves appear.

> Molds can release spores for much of the year if their habitat remains moist. Short of searching the trail for pollen, specific grasses, or those wispy feathers from pollinating cottonwood trees, there's not much you can do to assess allergen levels on your chosen route. You can check daily pollen counts at the National Pollen Network (, but "your eyes and nose will probably tell you first," says Dr. Taylor.

If you get caught hiking in the wrong season, try one of these trail-proven tricks to mitigate your allergy symptoms.

> Time hikes for mornings, when plant pollens are heavy with dew.

> Sit tight when the wind blows. "Breezy days are going to be worse," says Richard Honsinger, Ph.D., a clinical professor at the University of New Mexico, "because pollens can drift in the wind for hundreds of miles."

> Pick trails and tent sites above treeline. You'll find the fewest irritants on rocky terrain.

> Find a lake and pitch camp on the downwind side. The water may collect allergens as the wind blows them across, says Kim Spence, M.D., a family physician and backpacker based in Carbondale, CO.

> Avoid the irritants completely. If you're allergic to juniper, head east into forests of oak and elm. Does hickory make you sneeze? Hike in Washington's Olympic National Park.

> Load up on antihistamines. Nondrowsy drugs such as Allegra, Claritin (available over-the-counter this spring), and even the asthma medication Singulair can work wonders in stopping allergy symptoms. Ask your doctor.

> Try saltwater. Caught in the woods without your meds? Flushing your eyes and nose with saline removes the allergens and can dramatically improve your symptoms, says Dr. Spence.

PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Your favorite backpacking photo
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: Echo
Trailhead Register
Stick is fine
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: JasonG75

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions