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

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

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

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Tub time looming for Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race

The annual Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race now taking registration for this year’s races

TGIF: Penticton and South Okanagan events listings

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

South Okanagan winery nets gold in international competition

Covert Farms Family Estate winery scores big

Live: BC Wildfire Service press conference

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

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Feds say they’re willing to help with Okanagan fires

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale talks to local MP and offers help

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

More space in BC parks and campsites to get away from it all

Province announces an additional 431 campsites throughout B.C. for the 2018 season

Current forest fires bring back memories of 2003 wildfire in Kelowna

Former Kelowna fire chief says plan should be to throw everything at a forest fire early

Most Read