How to protect yourself when pollen count spikes

Tina Tait runs year-round, but with the spring tree pollen count spiking early, she's hurting.

"It feels like I'm running through sand," Tait says. "I've not had this bad of a reaction to it, I don't think, ever."

WATCH: How to get your spring workout done for allergy sufferers

Tait is not alone.

If you suffer from spring allergies, but like being outdoors, allergist Dr. George Gottlieb recommends taking a medication like an antihistamine early to head off allergy symptoms before they set in.

"I think it's very important to start early with some treatments and there are some excellent over-the-counter treatments available now," Dr. Gottlieb says.

Tina has come up with a system to ease her allergies.

She uses Allegra, an over-the-counter antihistamine.

"It makes me really dried out and unable to sleep, but it works," Tait says. "I've (also) got nasal spray. This is the natural saline spray. And this is the neti pot. You just fill it with saline solution and then you tip it up into your nose over the sink."

And, she's also doubled her water intake to keep from getting dehydrated.

And she's added one more step to her post-run routine.

"One of the things that I've found most helpful that I've never done before is rinsing off my contacts when I get back from a run," she says. "I didn't actually realize how foggy they got and how bothered my eyes were all day."

If you plan to be outside, Dr. Gottlieb says pay attention to not just the pollen count, but the weather conditions.

"People get much worse when it's windy," he says. "The turbulent airflow makes a difference."

Tina is staying the course, training for a half marathon this weekend. Next month, she'll begin helping new runners prep for Peachtree Road Race.

Running, she says, makes her life so much better, even if she huffs and puffs a little more these days.

"You've got to just plan around it, and just do it whenever you can," Tait says.

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