Allergy season much longer

Bad news if you suffer from allergies.

Turns out the amount of time you'll have to suffer has been increasing steadily and now lasts almost the entire year.

According to a new study released by London Drugs and Aerobiology Research Laboratories, the amount of pollen and the length of time it stays in the air has risen significantly over the last 11 years in Kelowna, resulting in longer more severe allergy seasons in the city.

In fact, the study shows certain allergens and the length in which the season lasts has increased by as much as 119 days between 2006 and 2017.

“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, Zach Stevens.

Stevens says that taking allergy medication proactively, before symptoms begin, is the best way to prevent them.

“Instead of allowing the body to conduct an unnecessary fight against pollen in the air, you can prevent your reactions using medications. But it's best to do so before allergens arrive because some medications take a few weeks to become fully effective.”

The study points to rising average temperatures as the culprit.

Aerobiology Research Laboratories 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 Kelowna, cedar pollen season increased by 119 days between 2006 and 2017, while ash pollen and nettles pollen seasons have increased by 58.8 and 23 days respectively.

“Allergy sufferers in Kelowna are seeing big increases in season length especially in early pollinating trees including cedar. That means there is more time for pollen to find its way into eyes, nose and throats,” explains Dawn Jurgens, Director of Operations and Quality Management at Aerobiology Research Laboratories, specialists in pollen and spore identification and research in Canada.

For those experiencing allergy symptoms, Stevens says that it is important to choose the right course of treatment, whether that's antihistamines, decongestants, sinus rinses, nasal sprays or eye drops.

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