If your allergy symptoms seem to be sticking around slightly longer these days, there’s a reason: Allergy season in Vancouver has increased by as much as 203 days – or almost seven months – over the last 11 years, according to the results of a study released today.
The findings come from research done by London Drugs, along with aeroallergen monitoring firm, Aerobiology Research Laboratories.
“Anyone suffering from allergies caused by weeds, grasses, trees, and bushes that release pollen may experience longer allergy flare-ups with symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat and itchy, tearing eyes,” says London Drugs Pharmacist, Gianni Del Negro.
Taking allergy medication proactively, before the allergy symptoms start, is the best way to prevent, Del Negro added.
“Instead of allowing the body to conduct an unnecessary fight against pollen in the air, you can prevent your reactions using medications,” he said. “But it’s best to do so before allergens arrive because some medications take a few weeks to become fully effective.”
Rising temperatures, longer season
According to Aerobiology Research Laboratories, the lengthening pollen season is caused by rising average temperatures.
The company collects pollen samples daily at collection sites across Canada and looks at the top pollens present in each city, assessing the average pollen season length.
In Vancouver, dock weed pollen season increased by 203 days between 2006 and 2017, while grass pollen and nettles pollen seasons have increased by 26.4 and 22 days respectively.
“Increases this significant can have serious negative effects on the quality of life for allergy sufferers in Vancouver during the summer months,” said Dawn Jurgens, Director of Operations and Quality Management at Aerobiology Research Laboratories. “With more time for pollen to find its way into eyes, nose and throats, symptoms are experienced for longer periods.”
For those experiencing allergy symptoms, Del Negro says that it is important to choose the right course of treatment, whether that’s antihistamines, decongestants, sinus rinses, nasal sprays, or eye drops.
“Finding the right allergy medication really depends on your symptoms, the severity of those symptoms, your past response to medications, and any other medical conditions.”
Keep the Kleenex close.