How to Survive Allergy Season in Canada

Environmental allergies are dependent upon the environment. Here, an expert reveals how to survive the season.

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Know when it’s allergies

It’s not uncommon to think you’ve caught a cold when you actually have allergies, says Susan Waserman, professor of medicine, division of clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “Typical symptoms of an allergy are a runny nose and eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy throat, and asthma, says Dr. Waserman. Other signs are: eczema, recurrence of symptoms at certain times of year, positive response to allergy medications, and exposure to indoor allergens such as pets.

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Arm yourself with the right meds

“Medications are often necessary for complete relief of symptoms,” says Dr. Waserman. If you find that over-the-counter allergy medications don’t help, see your doctor and ask to see an allergist. Allergy Skin testing is an important way to identify the allergen. (Also, here’s everything you need to know about allergy medications.)

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allergy season in canada | pollen
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Medication isn’t the only way to deal with allergies

Limiting your exposure to your allergen can also help. Wasserman recommends the following tips:

  • Keep windows and doors closed in the house and car during pollen season. Air conditioning can help keep the temperature comfortable. If you have a window air conditioner, keep the vent closed to the outside.
  • Pollen counts are high on dry, windy days and are lower after a rainfall or at night. Though not always practical, consider doing your outdoor activity during times when counts are lower.
  • Get someone else to take care of your lawn. Avoid grass cutting if you are allergic to grass pollen and/or outdoor mould.
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Be prepared to talk to your doctor

You’ll want to make a few notes before you head to an appointment with your doctor or allergist. “Know your symptoms, the timing of them, what medication you have tried and for how long, your response to medication, family history, and environmental exposures,” says Dr. Waserman. Your doctor will be watching out for these: fever, unilateral nasal symptoms, purulent nasal secretions, as well as severe headaches. Your doctor will diagnose if something else is going on, such as sinusitis.

This story was originally published in June, 2017.

Next, learn which Canadian cities are troublesome for allergy sufferers.

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