High pollen counts contribute to seasonal allergies: researcher

By Charlene Tebbutt
May 9, 2018 - 2:00pm

Keep your tissues out. If you feel like your allergies are lasting longer than usual this spring, you may be right.

Allergy season has stuck around longer than normal this year, according to data from Aerobiology Research Laboratories. The Ottawa-based company collects data on various pollen types for use by organizations such as The Weather Network. Seasons for a number of pollen types were predicted to be longer this year in several communities, meaning many allergy sufferers will have to tough it out.

Allergens from grasses are sticking around nearly a week longer than normal in this region, according to the data, and in Prince Albert counts on cedar pollen also show the above-average allergy season.

“When you look at the last 11 years, it’s increased by more than 80 days in total,” Dawn Jurgens, director of operations and quality management with Aerobiology Research Laboratories said of cedar pollen. “That’s a significant amount of time for allergy sufferers.”

There’s a bit of hope, she added. The allergy season may have been long and intense, but it won't last forever due to the long winter and cold spring.

“It only just recently warmed up there," Jurgens said, "so you’re probably going to end up seeing a slightly more condensed pollen season."

Medical Health Officer Dr. Khami Chokani said allergies can be tough for a lot of people to handle, but the key is taking allergy medication on a consistent basis – even if you are feeling well – and recognizing that allergies can affect people in different ways. Chokani said allergies can trigger new reactions to certain foods, and it’s important to note any changes and speak with your doctor. The stubborn winter flu season and cold spring have likely made allergy season worse as well, Chokani said.

“There were those swings in temperatures and various microorganisms really do enjoy that,” Chokani told paNOW. “The allergy season will be over soon, but it’s more important that they are able to control their body’s response to those various allergens by being aware of what are the warning signs.”


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On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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