It’s not you, its allergy season. It’s that season again in Vancouver where the sneezing, tearing and wheezing is back. When it comes to allergy-proofing your summer, you need to know the two main allergy seasons we have in BC.
BC Allergy Season Round 1
A good yearly benchmark for the start of BC allergy season is Mothers Day. Late spring and early summer, between May – June, is the peak grass pollen season. If allergy season feels like it’s been getting worse the last few years, you are right. Dr. Amin Kanani, the Division Head for Allergy & Immunology at UBC, says global warming is partly to blame. As the weather continues to change, trees are blooming for longer periods and their pollen is getting more powerful.
But that doesn’t need to stop your summer fun! With a bit of forewarning, you can avoid problematic pollen problems.
Allergy-Proof Your Plans
The Weather Network isn’t just helpful to plan out whether your camping plans may be rained out. Check the levels of pollen to plan around times when allergy triggers are at their highest. You may preemptively take allergy medication, close doors and windows, and shower routinely to limit allergen exposures.
BC Allergy Season Round 2
When the nice weather starts turning, most Vancouverites start frantically trying to squeeze the last bit of fun out of summer with gardening, hikes, camping, and other outdoor adventures. However, this is also when BC’s allergy season round 2 hits. So by the time back-to-school hits, so too does the onset of weed pollination. Between August and November, leaves start dying and falling to the ground and mold loves decomposing plant matter. During this season, mold spore count increases dramatically and floats into the air, causing numerous allergy symptoms.
Unsure If You Have a Cold, Hay Fever, or Ragweed Allergies?
The easiest way to tell is through your mucus. If you are experiencing a common cold, your nasal discharge can be green. Whereas with hay fever, your nasal discharge is normally clear, colourless and your nose feels itchy.
5 Ways How to Survive BC Allergy Season
1. Non-Prescription Medications
Nasal sprays and eye drops are often the best place to start. There are lots of options available without a prescription. Look for a corticosteroid nasal spray because they can provide substantial relief for individuals with severe nasal symptoms or those who suffer from constant nasal congestion brought on by allergies or deviated septum’s.
Other Non-Prescription Options
Antihistamines: Oral versions include brands such as Claritin or Allegra.
Decongestants: Sudafed is a great example of a decongestant. Talk to your doctor, as long-term use needs to be prescribed.
Combinations: These options include both an antihistamine and a decongestant, such as Claritin-D.
Over the counter remedies not working? If your ocular symptoms persist or worsen, it is time to see your eye doctor.
2. Sinuses Clearing
A saline solution is a fast acting and cheap way to help relieve allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion. Popular solutions, such as the Neti Pot, are a small hand held squeeze bottle designed to flush out mucus and allergens from your nose.
This is a particularly helpful remedy for those who suffer from deviated septum’s. The saline solutions, and nasal sprays, can be used throughout the year to help flush out any build up of allergens, mucus or debris and can even help you avoid becoming sick if used regularly.
3. Wear a Mask
Although mask mandates are over in most areas, it may be to your advantage to wear masks during allergy season. For the same reason masks help reduce the spread of COVID, they can help ensure you don’t breath in allergens. Masks can be particularly helpful for those outside doing activities such as mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and gardening because these activities can disperse allergens into the air. Learn more about which masks are best: Medical Masks vs. Cloth Masks
4. Clean Indoor Air
We are expected to have a warm summer in the lower mainland but many air conditioners can exacerbate your allergies because they are pushing both air and allergens into your home. Many people feel stuck between opening up their windows and doors to cool their home (but then getting hit with pollen) or closing off outside air and slowly melting from the heat. Try this simple hack! Cover your air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to trap allergens and select plants that purify the air. Or splurge on a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) purifier.
It can be hard to balance staying cool, minimizing allergies and avoiding your eyes from drying out. So if you are suffering from dry eyes, check out this advanced solution that delivers rapid improvements.
5. Clean Clothing and Showers
It may be overly simple but showering helps remove allergy triggers that have collected on your hair and skin. One of the many things we have learned from COVID is how often we touch our face. According to the American Journal of Infection Control, people touch their faces more than 20 times an hour on average. About 44 percent of the time, it involves contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. This spreads the allergens to other parts of your body increasing your likelihood of symptoms and irritation. So when you come in from outside, try taking a shower and changing into clean clothing.
Remedies not working? If eye symptoms persist or worsen, it is time to see your local optometrist.