Backpacking and pollen?

8:38 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Leaving this Thursday for an extended backpacking trip but for the first time in my life I'm being overwhelmed by allergies,never was bothered before.

I'll be in a hammock on this trip which will further my exposure to pollen.

I'm one of those who has never taken any kind of prescription drug not even an aspirin but now willing to drink a gallon of gas if it would help.

Whats the best over the counter allergy medication "non drowsy"?


8:59 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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I can't offer any medication help, but an idea on limiting problems in the future. Had allergy problems all my life. Still do to a very minor degree now, but nothing like I had in the past that keeps me from enjoying the outdoors.

I started eating local honey. In fact because we live on acreage, I've contracted with a person for him to keep honey bees here on the property. I get about 3 gallons a year out of the deal.

Even on trips 100+ miles away I don't experience problems.

9:49 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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I have the same problems as you Dreamer. The best medication in my opinion is Claritin. It is over the counter and (at least for me) non-drowsy. I like the Redi-Tabs because you can just pop them in your mouth and let them dissolve. I generally take 2 Redi-Tabs in the morning and I am pretty much good for the rest of the day.

10:07 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Great story about this guy on a Radiolab hour about parasites, available as a podcast:

Fun/provocative to listen to even if you don't want to try it yourself.

10:47 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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My vote also goes to Claritin, although I also take bee pollen tabs and I eat a good bit of honey as well.

It would be wise to consult a doctor for help with this as it is always possible there could be other thing besides pollen causing you misery. I would also try out any new medications at home well before a trip if possible just so you know what to expect in terms of treatment and possible side effects.

My allergies can get really bad at times so I also carry a 5 day steroid pack (tablets) with me on trips during the spring and fall. You have to see a doctor to get them, but if the symptoms are just overwhelming even with medication, this might be an option as a way to get things under control.

By any chance did you recently move to a new location, or start spending time in one? I had a similar experience years ago with sudden allergy problems.

One thing that I find helps is to keep my exposed skin washed and pollen free, and I try not to sleep in the same clothes I wore hiking that day. Your allergies may not be as bad as mine but I like taking along a dust mask or having a moistened bandanna as a backup plan, especially if you arrive at your glorious campsite and see that everything is coated in pollen. You know, just so you have options at that point. Usually my allergies are controllable if I've been taking my medicine, and I'm careful about not inhaling large amounts in the woods.

It's also great if you can schedule your trip after a good rain, and that may actually be the single biggest thing you can do to avoid contact with pollen.

I hope you have a good trip!

11:38 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Just be careful with medication, as non-drowsy antihistamines will contain stimulants that will contribute to dehydration. Increase your normal rate of water consumption when taking medications that contain pseudoephedrine such as Claritin-D or Sudafed.

Also of note is that regular Claritin is mildly sedating. It isn't as sedating as dyphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, but it is not a non-drowsy medication.

4:01 a.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Ambersdad / Trouthunter, What is this you mentioned about honey helping your allergies? Does it help relieve the symptoms after the fact or do you just take some honey every day and it builds up your "pollen defenses"?

I also suffer from them and take Claritin or Piriton (depending on what I have near by, I always keep some in the glove box of the car and at my desk at work) to help with the symptoms but taking some honey every day would be both tastier and a more natural solution to the problem!

Yock, Thanks for that note on dehydration, I will look out for that in myeslf now when I do have to take the tablets.

7:50 a.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Eating honey that is produced by bees in you local area supposedly works much like a natural allergy vaccination. The honey has those allergens is very small doses and as you eat a little bit on a regular basis it helps build up your immunity.

I still have bouts with allergies, but nothing like it was before I started eating the honey produced here on the property.

7:53 a.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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You can't treat allergy symptoms with honey, but many suggest you can innoculate yourself with it. Honey is a manufactured product (manufactured by bees, that is) with pollen as its main ingredient. The idea is that ingesting honey exposes you to a large amount of pollen in a state more easily accepted by your body. The theory is that once your body recognizes the pollen as safe it no longer triggers a histamine response to try and flush the intruding substance from your body.

Assuming that honey does have this effect on your body, different bodies will still react in different ways. Just like some people have allergic reactions to some vaccines, a sudden influx of pollen byproducts could trigger a larger histamine response rather than a smaller one. In the end, there isn't any scientific proof that it works and my personal opinion is that any supposed remedy should be treated with skepticism before spending large amounts of money maintaining a regimen.

Then again, honey is quite delicious. I totally wouldn't fault you if you used it as an excuse to have bisciuts drenched in honey every morning for breakfast. Yeah, now I'm hungry...

9:09 a.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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As already stated honey seems to provide some preventative measures and help your body accept pollen better.

Honey is also a great food supplement, as is the Bee Complex Tablets you can buy that contain Bee Pollen, Bee Propolis, & Royal Jelly.

3:58 p.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Claritin and local honey. Only problem with Claritin is it takes a while to get into your system and really work. I have to start taking it at the end of winter and take it till winter starts again. Loradine is the generic name (I think) and it works just as well for me. I get a year supply (360 tablets) at Sam's for $13.

12:24 a.m. on April 23, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey not to steal the thread topic-aim but to go a different direction with the annoyances that come along with pollen....

Anyone know any long-term affects pollen can have on the performance/waterproofing of your tent? Just curious casue after a rainy weekend down in GA I left my tent out on my screened-in back porch to air-dry,then got consumed with tests and finals with school for about a week.. right when the pollen count decided to sky-rocket, and resulted with a nice thin layer of the yellow junk on my fly. Just was wondering if it will cause harm on down the road regarding waterproofing and protection...any thoughts?

1:39 a.m. on April 24, 2010 (EDT)
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Eating honey that is produced by bees in you local area supposedly works much like a natural allergy vaccination. The honey has those allergens is very small doses and as you eat a little bit on a regular basis it helps build up your immunity.

I never knew that was an option and is something I will look into. Thanks.

I know you're looking for an OTC application but Claritin has never really worked for me and I've since moved on to Allegra. The benefit of both Claritin and Allegra is that they are non-drowsy applications, however if the Claritin doesn't work for you ask your Dr. about Allegra as an alternative.

11:41 p.m. on May 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I live in Knoxville, TN, the "Tennessee Valley" and we have horrible pollen here. I have always succumbed a bit to allergies but nothing like here. I also loathe taking any medication unless I am in really bad shape, but I also agree with what has been said above. Anything with Loratadine (ie Claritin) seems to work very well. However this year we have had record high pollen counts and it doesn't seem to cut it by itself, so I added (on top of the Claritin) Zyrtec, and it I am doing just fine...well minus a few itchy-eye fits every now and then. Hope this helps!


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