Hot Health Topics

Upcoming Events

September 17, 2019
September 2019 (Various Dates) This two part webinar series will enable physicians and other health providers to provide input into the development...

Spring is in the air – Allergy sufferers hit hard

March 28, 2019

allergy_season.jpgIt’s officially Spring, and if you’ve been sniffling and sneezing lately there’s a good reason why. Allergy season is here, and it’s come with a vengeance.

According to the latest pollen samples, tree pollen counts are higher than normal triggering allergies and allergy symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes. If you suffer from allergies, you should proactively start taking allergy medication since it typically takes a couple of weeks to become fully effective. There are also several steps you can take to help reduce your exposure to pollen:

  • Keep your house and car windows closed.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend outside when pollen counts are high (during midday and afternoon).
  • Wear a pollen mask or dust mask when mowing the lawn, and limit your mowing if possible.
  • Rinse your eyes with cool water or saline eye drops after being outdoors to remove clinging pollen.

Allergy sufferers can also keep an eye on the Weather Network, which tracks the amount of pollen in the air by city, and gives a three-day pollen outlook. This can help you determine when pollen levels are lower and it is safe to be outdoors.

Distinguishing between allergy and cold symptoms is also important to ensure proper treatment. While there are many similarities between the two, there are some key ways to tell which are cold and which are allergy symptoms.

  • Seasonal allergies cause itchy watery eyes and a runny nose, and can last for weeks or as long as contact with the allergen continues.
  • A cold also causes itchy watery eyes and a runny nose, but may also include aches and pains, a sore throat, and perhaps a fever and chills that generally lasts one to two weeks.

There are many common treatments for allergies including antihistamines, decongestants, sinus rinses, nasal sprays, or eye drops. But if your symptoms are severe and antihistamines aren't helping, visit your family doctor or health care provider. There may be another diagnosis or other treatments may be needed as some allergies can be overcome through desensitization treatment.

More information on allergies can be found here.

Media stories on this topic:

Global News – Allergy season could be worse than ever in B.C. following lengthy delay: health experts

CBC News – Spring has sprung but at what cost? Peak allergy season hits Vancouver

The Weather Network – Is it allergies or a cold? How to tell, and how to treat it