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 data from London Drugs and Aerobiology Research Laboratories, for certain allergens the season has increased by more than 60 per cent.

“It definitely started a bit earlier than most years,” says Rey Marx, pharmacy manager at the London Drugs, Sannich Centre. “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, the length of the 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 this year was 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 Dawn Jurgens, director of operations at Aerobiology Research Laboratories.

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, including staying indoors on dry, windy days and taking a shower after having been exposed to pollen.

He also reminds 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 with complicated medical history, it’s best to come to the pharmacy and know there’s no interactions,” he says.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Food allergieshay fever

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich offers free saplings to encourage residents to spruce up for National Tree Day

Giveaway to take place Sept. 21 in Glanford Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

New faclity in the Royal Bay development will house collections, archives and research department

West Shore pool stays closed for 2020

Juan de Fuca Recreation centre swimming could return in 2021

Fall issue of Pearl now out

A treasure trove of Saanich Peninsula stories

North Saanich among six communities facing ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Findings appear in a report that also analyzed daycare in Central Saanich and Sidney

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read