Outdoor Sports Injury Prevention Plan

David Stefl spent decades training athletes. A former athletic trainer and military training coach, he is now an orthopedics physician assistant. So who better to weigh-in on injury prevention than him?

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Five Tips to Reduce Outdoor Allergy Triggers

Do your allergy symptoms tell you that spring is coming long before you see it on the calendar? Here are five simple tips and tricks to help keep reactions to outdoor allergy triggers under control.

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Five Tips to Reduce Outdoor Allergy Triggers
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Can’t avoid the outdoors on a windy day? National Jewish Health, a leading respiratory treatment center, suggests sunglasses. Besides looking cool, they can help shield your eyes from pollen by deflecting the wind.
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  1. Plan outdoor activities around pollen levels.

    Check daily pollen counts and forecasts and try to stay indoors when pollen levels are highest (between 10AM and 4PM). Try to focus your time outdoors in the early morning.

  2. Keep your home clean and keep allergens out.

    Use an air filter and keep your windows closed during the day. Use washable curtains and wash them often. Mop your floors regularly, and for carpets, use a vacuum with a high-efficacy particulate air (HEPA) filter to ensure that allergens are minimized.

  3. Change your clothes, shower and wash your hair.

    Once you’re done with your outdoor fun, put your clothes in the laundry basket, take a shower and wash your hair. This helps reduce the allergens you bring into your home. It’s also a good practice to shower before bed, keeping allergens out of your bedding.

  4. Keep your furry friends groomed, too.

    Pets can carry pollen and mold on their coats, so bathing and grooming can keep allergen levels down. If your pet enjoys time outdoors, keep him out of your bedroom to minimize allergens.

  5. Track your allergens.

    The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping an allergy diary. Keep track of all your activities, including the time of day when symptoms occur and what helps lessen them. This can help your doctor identify your triggers and manage your symptoms.

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Unexpected Winter Vacation Spots

Want to get away this winter? Here are some unique vacation ideas from Susan Farewell, editor-in-chief of FarewellTravels.com.

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Plan the Perfect Barbecue

Chef and restaurateur Frank Ostini teaches a “BBQ Bootcamp” in California for wannabe grill masters. He shares his secrets for grilling up a great summer barbecue.

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When planning your barbecue, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends not mowing your lawn the day of the party—it can stir up pollen. Check the pollen count the day of your party: You’ll find ZYRTEC®’s forecast tool here.

Yes, you should prep all your veggies. Chopping, steaming and boiling can all be done ahead of time. The veggies can be grilled early and kept warm in a 200-degree oven. But, most importantly, grill your meat last.

You may need to create a checklist. Do you need to buy ice? Do you have extra space in the refrigerator or enough cooler space? Most importantly, make sure the drinks you’re serving are at the right temperature when guests arrive.

Be sure your grill is clean. Burn off old grease with a new fire, scrape it with a wire brush and re-season the grill with fat or oil. It’s important to have a hot bed of coals or wood fire—which can take 30 minutes to heat up. Using gas? Make sure you have enough.

Baste your food while grilling, or marinate it overnight, but season as you grill. A basic seasoning mix is: two parts black pepper, one part onion powder, two parts white pepper, five parts granulated garlic, two parts cayenne pepper and five parts salt.

Remember that grilling is a very simple operation. It’s important to start by using high-quality ingredients, and with a little ingenuity, you can grill almost anything.

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Building a Fun Backyard

Paul Ryan, host of DIY Network shows like Weekend Handyman and The How 2 Crew on TLC, shares some ideas and tips on how to create a dedicated playtime space for kids of any age.

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Allergy Tips for Golfers

For golfers with allergies, a day on the course can also mean suffering through sneezing and watery eyes. Here are some strategies to help your game from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

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Rather than signing up for the first tee time that’s open, the AAFA suggests considering a twilight tee time, when allergens are at their lowest.
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  1. Make a Later Tee Time

    Plants release pollen early in the morning, shortly after dawn. Peak pollen hours are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Although it might be tough to get in an entire round, try booking a twilight tee time, when pollen levels are lower.

  2. Check the Pollen Forecast

    Use the ZYRTEC® Allergy Forecast Tool and AllergyCast app to track pollen counts in your area. This simple tool will help you learn which types of pollen are prominent in your area. (Click here for more information.)

  3. Look for True Links Courses

    Pollen from trees like ash, beech, birch, cottonwood, elm, maple and oak can trigger allergies as much as grass and ragweed can. True links courses have fewer trees and are worth considering.

  4. Know Where Pollen Thrives

    Planning a golf getaway? Look for a destination with lower pollen counts when you’ll be traveling. The AAFA website can show you where it’s peak season for allergies, and where the pollen count is low.

  5. Reduce Allergens Inside, Too

    Consider leaving golf equipment outside, where pollen can’t transfer from bags and clubs to curtains and carpet. Also, don’t hang clothing outside to dry where it can collect pollen.

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If you have allergies you should keep your windows open.

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If you have allergies you should keep your windows open.
Fact or Fiction: 
Fiction
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Avoid outdoor allergens by keeping your windows closed.
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If you get allergies when you go outside in the morning, pollen is to blame.

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If you get allergies when you go outside in the morning, pollen is to blame.
Fact or Fiction: 
Fact
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Morning allergies might be a sign of sensitivity to pollen.
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The pollen count will be the same no matter what time you play golf.

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The pollen count will be the same no matter what time you play golf.
Fact or Fiction: 
Fiction
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Try to tee off late afternoon when the pollen count is lower.
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Today's allergy forecast is the same wherever you go.

Quiz Question: 
Today's allergy forecast is the same wherever you go.
Fact or Fiction: 
Fiction
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Different destinations may have different pollen counts.
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