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

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Volunteers sought for weed pull at Summit Lake Provincial Park

Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society is looking for help next week

UPDATE: Search for missing Cranbrook woman enters third day

The search for a Cranbrook woman missing in the Jumbo Pass area is entering its third day.

Search for missing Cranbrook woman ongoing

Louise Baxter missing in Jumbo Pass area since Sunday

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Most Read