Sneezing, snotty nose and red eyes are all symptoms of hay fever - which, of course, has nothing to do with hay.
[related_articles]People react to different pollens - though you can narrow it down by the time you experience the symptoms: spring sneezing and it's probably a reaction to tree pollen, mid-summer and it's more likely to be grass and summer flowers. All spring/summer long and you're just unlucky.
Being struck down with symptoms that feel almost like a cold, right when the summer begins to show its face, is generally not what most cyclists want - but there are remedies. Here are some of the best known cures for the summer sneezes...
Over the counter remedies
The first port-of-call for most hayfever sufferers is an over-the-counter antihistamine.
Antihistamine's block the creation of histamine - which produces an inflammatory response when your body senses a foreign invasion - in this case from pollen.
In the past, some active ingredients in these have been known to cause drowsiness but there are plenty of non-drowsy options now - such as Zyrtec, Clarinex, Allegra , Claritin.
You can either opt for daily pills, which are easy to take, or nasal sprays and eye-drops, which offer a localized solution.
Vitamin C is often used to help lower the production of anti-bodies produced as a result of an infection - or an allergy. In this case, the natural remedies aim to lower the production of histamine, which causes symptoms.
Researchers at Arizona State University found that a daily dose of 200mg of Vitamin C reduced histamine levels by 40%.
Vitamins will give you the greatest dose - and Vitamin C tablets with Bioflavonoids are said to have added benefits.
The theory behind honey as a cure for hay fever is that in ingesting honey, made from pollen, people can desensitize themselves, thus reducing the allergic reaction.
It doesn't work for everybody, but a number of studies have yielded successful results - and those who it works for swear by it.
Converts to the cure generally suggest local honey is your best bet, since it will be produced from the same pollen that is causing you so much trouble.
In an ideal world, you would start taking one tea spoon a day (obviously mixed into porridge, or your favourite tea!), before the hey fever season begins. Since we're probably too late for that, you might as well start now...
Onions - or Quercetin
Onions contain Quercetin - a natural antihistamine which will help to reduce your bodies reaction to the perceived threat. Elderberries, Kale and Pears also contain the same allergy fighting 'flavonol'.
An average 100g red onion will have around 33 mg of Quercetin, a white onion around 21 mg, whilst elderberries contain around 42mg per 100g (that's still quite a few elderberries).
Alternatively, you go for a daily dose of 200mg Quercetin supplement.
Particuarly useful for people who are suffering from hay fever whilst out and about on the bike is the 'Vasaline trick'.
Apply a thin layer of Vasaline to your lower nostrils, this will catch the pollen and prevent it from going up your nose, where it causes the most irritation.
(NB: It doesn't need to be this Limited Edition Queen Bee variety, we just felt it was appropriate!)
Wrap Around Sunglasses
Pollen causes irritation when it gets into your eyes - so aside from ramping up on anti-histamines, another effective method is to shield your eyes in the first place.
Much like applying Vasaline to your nostrils, wearing wrap-around sunglasses helps to keep the irritants out.
Most cycling sunglasses are wrap-around, as this design also prevents mud, grit and other undesirables from getting in.
Change, Wash, Dry Indoors
NHS advice is to try to keep windows closed and avoid exposure if pollen is a big problem for you.
Of course, nothing is going to keep us clammed up indoors. However, when you come in from a ride, take your kit off, wash it, and leave it to dry indoors. As lovely as the smell of fresh, line dried lycra might be, it's not too smart to attract the irritants, then clothe yourself in kit covered in the spores!
Good luck, and happy riding! The good news is all these symptoms to come alongside the sunshine - so check out these great short sleeved summer jerseys with UV protection so you're ready.