Allergies and breathing trouble

Mike

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Sep 24, 2007
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#1
I usually don't get allergies in spring but seem to be effected by them in autumn. Come October I often can't stop sneezing and get itchy eyes. I also find that in the mountains when climbing I have breathing difficulties, and I just can't get enough oxygen to my working muscles. I know this has nothing to do with my fitness levels because I'm usually peaking after my long summer holiday of riding.

This year something unusual seems to be happening. The last few weeks I've noticed it when climbing and it's only June:confused: I'm in the best condition I've been in for a long time so I know it has NOTHING to do with my fitness levels. It just really sucks and earlier today when climbing a local toge, it hit me hard. I still managed to get a PB today on that climb, but if the breathing problems didn't effect me I would have been even faster!

I've also noticed my students sneezing a lot with allergies, and it's too late for pollen allergies, right? They are constructing a new school building ATM, so maybe the dust is playing some part in it?

Just wondering if anyone else has this problem? I'm thinking about going to the doctor for a check up:(
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#2
I have been getting bad allergies and they seem to get worse each year.
I also sometimes after very heavy sprint training where I've pushed myself to the limit get slight signs of ( I guess) asthma. It may be just normal when one pushes the limit... When it odes happen I'm kind of happy cause I know it must have been a good ride... :D
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
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Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#3
Mike, funny you are saying this. I'm also experiencing strange breathing problems towards the end of my rides these few last rides, and strangely when getting out of the mountains. If this doesn't stop, I will need a check-up too.

One explanation could be we are simply over exercising...
 

Gunjira

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Oct 2, 2009
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#4
I have been encountering exactly the same in terms of allergies. While I had some issues back in German, up until now I was fine in Japan year after year. Unfortunately this season I have been experiencing just the same as that you described, Mike. I am wondering if I either I am getting used to the local fauna or maybe this year is particularly bad?

Considering sprint training or peak power testing, I noticed that when your respiratory tract is not properly warmed up for maximum oxygen intake, the sudden strain might result in something that feels like asthma for up to two days for me.
 

Mike

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Sep 24, 2007
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#5
Thanks for the replies guys and it's nice to know it isn't just me, although I don't wish breathing problems on anynone. I'm sure you're all correct. Probably it's a combination of training hard, weather and allergies. Gunjira, you're explanantion also makes sense about warming up the respiratory tract. I sometimes find that on the first climb of a long ride I seem to have breathing difficulty, and once I've summitted the climbs after that are problem free. I found this happened at Mikuni a few weeks back when I was doing some power training there.

What I do find odd though, is that I very rarely/never suffer form breathing problems in the summer, or spring. It's always been in Autumn that it happens. This year is an exception and perhaps it's the unusually dry weather that's been causing it:confused:
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#6
Mike,

I’ve also been having the same problems, normally after a 250km ride at race speeds..... Ludwig and I were discussing this a little while ago.... kind of feels like the onset of an asthma attack as mentioned or if you’ve ever taken a really deep breath up a mountain during ski season first thing in the morning.

What I think is happening to some of us is that we have just crossed a plateau in our training, cardio and muscular systems have adapted to the high level of training but the vascular hasn’t. We are in taking more and more oxygen and this is putting a strain on the airways and related muscles.

There are several ways to develop your respiratory muscles while off the bike; “Big Mig” Indurain would blow up 10 balloons until they popped every day.
As this wakes the kids up I’m using the “Power Breathe” system.

Some think these work others don’t, but I’ve seen a huge improvement in my lung capacity and ability to breathe smoothly........or as other have said this could be due to the HUGE amounts of training I do.

But like you said it’s nice to know you’re not alone!
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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#7
I have asthma and use an inhaler occasionally (usually before hill climb races) and would recommend trying a salbutomol inhaler. It basically just opens up your airways in times of stress. If you do any UCI sanctioned races (ex: Japan Cup), you’ll need certification from your doctor.

If it’s hay fever that your experiencing, I’ve heard that allergy to the Japanese cedar (sugar) pollen takes a few years to develop, so foreigners in Japan often begin to experience it after about 5 years of being here.

I think training and climbing in particular definitely helps with breathing issues. I certainly feel much fitter aerobically since I started cycling.

Hope the problems work themselves out.

Andy
 
Sep 2, 2009
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0
0
#9
Not into training as hard as you guys, but I have DEFINITELY noticed that this year is worse for hay fever than any of the previous 5 years I have spent in Japan.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#10
I got hit really hard this year as well. Funny cause the one thing I loved about Japan was my lack of hat fever here! Here's what I'm taking with great results:

1) Zyrtec - you can get it by prescription from your doctor. It doesn't seem to be covered by Japanese medical insurance (or at least mine wasn't) - But its working great. Just a tad expensive.

2) Claritin - with the decongestant works good when a real bad episode hits. Though, I dont like the effect on training / riding.

3) Claritin - without decongestant. Barely noticable effects during training (for me). Not quite as effective as Zyrtec - but pretty close.

I prefer the Zyrtec, however its most expensive. Claritin is good - but not quite as effective in the huge pollen dustings - Tamagawa River trail as an example.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
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36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#11
Zyrtec, Claritin, Alesion, Allegra, Allelock - all 2nd generation anti-histamines are available by prescription and fully covered by Japanese health insurance (which means 30% co-pay for most of us).

Some of these may become available OTC some time soon - though generally OTC drugs are more expensive than the 30% co-pay on prescription drugs.

On a standard dose basis, the price of these prescription drugs is very similar. If you find Zyrtec expensive, you may be comparing different dosage levels.

Zyrtec is known to have particularly high efficacy, but also to make you potentially more sleepy. Because it is once a day, best to take before you go to bed, and then everything should be fine.
 

Mike

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Sep 24, 2007
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#12
It's back baby!

Had my first breathing difficulties of the season today....a bit earlier than last year but only by a few weeks. Kind of like asthma...no running nose or other allergy symptoms...just gasping for breath as I was pushing it hard up a climb. I don't have any pollen allergies in spring.

I'm pretty sure now it's exactly what Far East (James) suggested i.e. my vascular system is struggling to supply oxygented blood to my working muscles as I have ramped up my training level.

Last season it took about a month to get past this phase, will be interesting to see if the same happens again or if my body will adapt more quickly.

Anybody else been experienceing this?
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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#13
Only some occasional minor nasal congestion or a sneeze or two, not even sure if it's the pollen or not. I'm glad I've never developed sensitivity to the stuff (25 years here).

As for the power breathe system, tho it's offered to triathletes, I'd wonder if a regulated breathing activity like swimming could maybe provide something similar.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#14
Its back for me , too. Seasonal hay fever induced bronchitis. Suffering pretty good the last couple weeks and today was getting quite asthmatic. Hit the Clariten and helped quite a bit - but still have the bronchitis to deal with.
 
#16
The air quality in general seems worse this year. More runny nose but also more crap in the corner of the eyes, both durning the ride and the next morning. I haven't been doing anything more than 100k recently and have been surprised at how grimy I feel after.

Could it be standard pollution being worse? Or more dirt/debris in the air after the erosion and problems of the tsunami? Or often in the spring winds blow pollution from China and the Gobi desert, sometimes as far as Japan, maybe?
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#17
The air quality in general seems worse this year. More runny nose but also more crap in the corner of the eyes, both durning the ride and the next morning. I haven't been doing anything more than 100k recently and have been surprised at how grimy I feel after.

Could it be standard pollution being worse? Or more dirt/debris in the air after the erosion and problems of the tsunami? Or often in the spring winds blow pollution from China and the Gobi desert, sometimes as far as Japan, maybe?
I too have noticed how much worse it is this year, I've lived here since August 1990, and up until last year, I never had any trouble with the "Kafunsho" but this year, yeah, it kills me :( My wife and two daughters suffer from it as well.

Yesterday we took our large van out for a short run, we don't use it much and try to take it out at least once a month, well when I got the van out from it's parking spot, behind the mini van that we use for the L shop, I could not believe how dirty it was, I'd washed it last month, and I tell you, the windscreen was so dirty you could not see out, and this was from just one month, sitting under cover on the first floor of our building, and it was not brown dirt, but dirty green..... yep, pollen.... :eek:

When I ride I wear sunglasses, and I have clear safety glasses if I ride at night, as I've been hit in the eye by bugs before, and it hurts! They also keep a lot of the crap out of my eyes.

I have some prescription for the hayfever, I'll have to look to see what it is, but it kills the sinus head aches I get, works well.

Cheers!
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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#18
I was told, rightly or wrongly, that it would be worse this year due to the dry winter (esp the period from Christmas onwards - I think we had about 40 days here with no rain/precipitation). After my earlier problems when the cold air started, I`ve gone back on asthma medication so no problems here.