Throughout the spring and summer months, millions of Americans—and, thus, many soccer players—experience unpleasant seasonal allergies. These allergies can manifest as watery eyes, nasal congestion, a pesky cough and more, often making it hard for soccer players to play their best while out on the field. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can offset the effects of seasonal allergies in order to improve your game. We’re looking at a few of them below.
Start at home
When it comes to improving your game on the field, some preparation at home can go a long way. “Allergy-proofing” your home (or at least minimizing allergies’ effects) can allow you to feel more comfortable and relaxed as you start the day. Change your home’s air filters regularly, keep windows closed during peak allergy times and vacuum or dust to eliminate allergens from your home. While you can’t prevent allergens on the field, you can at least do your part to ensure that you start the day comfortably and allergy-free.
Wash clothes frequently
After every game, practice or scrimmage outdoors, be sure to wash your uniform and warmup gear. While you’re probably already doing this with your jersey, shorts and socks, it’s worth doing even for lesser-worn items like your practice jacket. This will prevent allergens from entering into your home and affecting you both on and off the field.
Take medication when necessary
Taking a non-drowsy allergy medication on game or practice days can help you excel on the field, making for a more enjoyable and productive experience. Just be sure to take a medicine you’re familiar with so that unexpected side effects don’t get in the way of your successful game play.
Plan around the pollen
Pollen is typically less prevalent during the early morning or late afternoon hours—so, when possible, try to plan outdoor activities during these windows. While you won’t be able to change the time of a big game, you can often avoid the worst of allergy season by scheduling practices, scrimmages or simple outdoor fun when the pollen count is lower.
As always, what you eat can have a big effect on how you play—and the same idea holds true during allergy season. If you’re feeling particularly congested, avoid dairy foods like cheese, yogurt, milk and more—this might allow you relief from congestion during your time on the field, giving you a chance to focus on the game in front of you. As always, snack on healthy treats like apples, oranges, grapes and more for refreshing sideline nourishment.
We hope that these ideas help you enjoy outdoor playtime this summer without worrying about pollen, grasses and other allergens getting in your way.