Spring Allergy – Aaaah…

Choo! Warm weather, sunshine, what could possibly be bad about spring? Melting snow and green trees are a joy to many but are woe to the spring allergy sufferer. Opening windows to let the fresh air in can actually be catastrophic for seasonal allergy victims.


We welcome the change in weather, but some of us suffer. Everyone can understand feeling under the weather, when the weather is fine, but imagine feeling unwell for an entire season. Have you felt less than ideal as the snow melts? Is it a cold, or is it something else? It’s easy to confuse a cold, with the symptoms of allergy.


Allergy and cold symptoms include stuffy, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, itchy, red, watery eyes. However, fever or body ache, are not symptoms of an allergy – they would be signs of a cold. Seasonal allergies last several weeks, but recovery from a cold is usually 7 to 10 days.


If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you would experience allergy symptoms at about the same time each year. Think back, did you have a “cold” last year? If you suspect you might have experienced the symptoms of allergy, make a note this year. Record the day your symptoms start.


The most common cause of spring allergy is tree pollen, and in Canada – snow mould is also common. Taking note of when your symptoms start can help determine your trigger. Poplars, cedars, birch, alder, and oak are some pollen-producing trees. However, if you start to experience allergy symptoms before you see any green, the culprit could be snow mould. Although it is hard to avoid tree pollens, you can reduce snow mould around your home. Keeping grass short, raked and dethatched before it snows, and spreading out snow on your lawn so it melts faster will reduce snow mould.


If you suspect that you suffer from spring allergy, there are treatments for your symptoms. Use an antihistamine before exposure to your trigger, and use it every day until there is no more exposure. For seasonal allergy sufferers, it means using an antihistamine for several weeks. Common mistakes are to use an antihistamine when symptoms become intolerable and stopping the medication when symptoms improve. The most effective treatment of seasonal allergies is starting an antihistamine before allergy symptoms appear, and using it continuously until the trigger is no longer present.


Your Pharmachoice pharmacist can help you determine if you are suffering from a seasonal allergy or a cold. The pharmacist can also help with the choice of an antihistamine, or other products to treat your symptoms. Some antihistamines should not be used with chronic medications that you may be taking. Your pharmacist can help you select medications or treatments that are safe for you. Take a deep breath, and let us help you enjoy all that spring can bring!

Heather Von Holwede
Spiritwood, SK