Seasonal allergies affect as many as 10 million Canadians each year, with more than a quarter of those suffering saying they have to limit their outdoor activity in order to prevent the onset of symptoms. Seasonal allergies occur when your body becomes sensitized to something in the environment and overreacts as a result.
The most common spring allergens are trees, grass and flowers due to the production of pollen. This pollen gets released into the air and causes a wide array of allergic symptoms including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes. Allergies can also cause skin disturbances such as hives and/or rash.
In order to evade or reduce spring allergies, it is recommended that you try your best to avoid known triggers. For example, if you develop symptoms after cutting grass, you may want to keep your windows closed to avoid the pollen from travelling indoors. If it is a warm day, opt for using an air conditioner. It is also important to pay attention to the weather forecasts – the warmer the day, the more likely you are to be affected by pollen. The Weather Network also offers a tool called the Pollen Report, which helps you keep track of pollen in your local area, ranging from low, moderate, and high to very high.
For severe allergies, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician and experienced medical researcher from Vancouver, British Columbia, recommends the use of nasal sprays such as Nasonex or Flonase. These sprays provide up to 24 hours of relief of allergy symptoms. It is important to note that in order for these medications to work effectively, they should be used on a regular, reoccurring basis. Other over-the-counter products such as saline solution and nasal decongestants can also be used. However, it is important to note that most OTC products are for short-term, temporary relief only and should not be used on a long-term basis as you may develop other issues such as rhinitis medicamentosa – or more commonly known as rebound congestion.