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

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Cathy McLeod ready to run in Election 2019

“I have the passion, energy and support from my family to continue working hard for our region.”

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read