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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Unique canvas for local artist

Haren Vakil brings joy and smiles to homeowners and passersby

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Up to $500,000 fine and potential jail time for feeding seals

Changes to the Marine Mammal Regulations make it illegal to feed seals

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

5 things to do this weekend around Victoria

The sounds of summer Rock the Shores returns to the lower fields… Continue reading

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Most Read