Pass the tissue: Length of allergy season up 60 per cent

Some allergens are active 33 days earlier than previous seasons

If you’ve noticed itchier eyes and runnier noses this spring, you’re not alone.

According to research done by London Drugs and Aerobiology Research Laboratories, the length of some allergens this season have increased by more than 60 per cent.

“It definitely started a bit earlier than most years,” says London Drugs pharmacy manager Rey Marx. “Usually people come in asking for allergy medication in April or so; this year they came in starting in February.”

Grasses, trees, and flower pollen — the most common allergens for hay fever — have steadily been increasing. Between 2006 and 2017 cattail pollen season increased a total of 33 days, and grass pollen increased by 16 days. Sudden increases also contribute to this year’s high allergen season: between 2017 and 2018 alone the oak pollen season increased in length by 61 per cent (from 18 days to 29 days).  

Researchers say the lengthened pollen season is caused by rising average temperatures. The Aerobiology Research Lab collects daily pollen samples at sites across Canada, and looks at top pollens present in the air to assess the average pollen season length.

“Allergy sufferers in Victoria are seeing longer seasons, but unlike other areas of Canada, the increases are occurring with fewer pollen types,” explains Director of Operations and Quality Management at Aerobiology Research Laboratories, Dawn Jurgens.

RELATED: Victoria considers limiting trees that cause allergy flareups

Despite the longer season, Marx says there are ways to manage your allergies, and to plan for an earlier start.

“I’m a seasonal allergy sufferer myself,” he says. “And I always tell people to keep track of when they’re having symptoms. They can reduce the severity of their symptoms next year by taking preventative actions early.”

While these actions might include taking antihistamines earlier, Marx says there are some non-pharmacological options people can take that might help. These include staying indoors on dry, windy days and taking a shower after they’ve been outside and exposed to pollen. He also wants to remind people to wash their clothes after they’ve come inside if they have severe hay fever, and to remember not to hang their laundry outside.

Other pharmaceutical options also include nasal sprays, sinus sprays, eye drops and decongestants. While Marx says most over-the-counter drugs are perfectly safe, it is always wise to check in with your pharmacist if you have any other health issues.

“Decongestants are stimulants, so in some situations where with complicated medical history it’s best to come to the pharmacy and know there’s no interactions,” he says.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Cutest pet contest winner: Rosie

Cutest pet in the South Okanagan-Similkameen winner for July 13

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Mount Conkle fire near Summerland 90 per cent guarded

This fire has several good water sources and has good road access which have contributed to the success

Law Creek wildfire still out-of-control

A blaze in West Kelowna still has 129 properties on an evacuation alert

UPDATED: Mount Eneas fire grows to 1,374 hectares

Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen issues evac alerts for properties in Area F.

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Wildfire near West Kelowna mapped at 10 hectares

The wildfire near Glenrosa is considered out of control

Okanagan Mountain Park fire remains active

The wildfire, also called Goode’s Creek wildfire, continues to burn near Kelowna

Peachland firefighters have quiet night monitoring Mount Eneas wildfire

Fire chief Dennis Craig said wind was blowing the fire away from homes

Cigarette packs with graphic images, blunt warnings are effective: focus groups

Warnings considered effective flag ailments smoking can cause, like colorectal and stomach cancers

Canada’s title hopes quashed at Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

On the men’s side, Canada was eliminated in the round of 16 as they were shut out by Argentina 28-0

‘We are doing the right thing:’ Protesters dig in at anti-pipeline camp

B.C. Supreme Court ruled in March that both the camp and a nearby watch house could remain in place

Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

Alexander Gerst becomes an astronaut musician with live performance from International Space Station

Most Read