Op-ed: Allergy season is back in the Thompson-Okanagan

Allergy season is back

The weather is warming up in Kelowna, and while many of us are happy to be back outdoors enjoying the fresh air, it also means that seasonal allergies are back.

COVID-19 has changed much of our lives, including allergy season. Allergies are challenging at the best of times, but symptoms of seasonal allergies may be easily confused with COVID-19 symptoms. To add to this confusion, allergy sufferers may now be worried about judgment from sneezing and sniffles in public.

At my pharmacy, I see first-hand how frustrating and stressful allergy season can be, particularly right now, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to manage symptoms to give allergy sufferers peace of mind – so they don’t have to wonder if a runny nose or tickly throat is an allergy symptom or a sign of something else. Here are my tips to help take control of your seasonal allergies.

When you are outside, protect yourself: If you are doing something active outside, consider wearing large sunglasses, a hat and a face mask to cover your nose and mouth. This will help keep allergens of your body, and prevent them from getting in your eyes, nose and mouth.

Check the pollen forecast: It can change daily and has a real impact on allergy symptoms. Aim to plan outdoor activities on days when the pollen count is lower and try to stay indoors on warm, windy days.

Protect your home from pollen: After time outdoors, we carry a lot of pollen back inside with us. During allergy season, be sure to wash your bedding more often, and if possible, keep your windows closed to prevent pollen from sneaking in.

Find the right products for your symptoms: Seasonal allergies and symptom severity can vary person-to-person. Your local pharmacist can assess your symptoms and recommend appropriate solutions like over-the-counter medications and products that can work for you.

Allergy season has only just begun, but following these simple tips are an excellent way to keep allergy symptoms at bay. Call or visit your local pharmacist and ask us how you can better manage your allergies this season.

Nathan Klaassen is a pharmacist and owner of the Shoppers Drug Mart in Kelowna

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