Coughing, sneezing, and itching are all symptoms of seasonal allergies and 46-year-old Melitta Artindale from Havelock, Ont., is dealing with all of them, and more.
Artindale says she’s never experienced seasonal allergies in her entire life, until this year.
“My eyes are watery’,” said Artindale. “I have this runny nose and this tickly throat and coughing up stuff. We put two and two together, it’s seasonal allergies.”
Artindale is amongst hundreds of thousands of Canadians struggling this year. According to the latest research, about 25 per cent of Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies.
According to professor and the chair of allergy and immunology at Queens University, Dr. Anne Ellis, this year is rough because spring sprung late.
“What that means was the tree pollen season was significantly delayed, but our grass pollen season didn’t have any issues starting when it normally does, so right now people who suffer from our tree and grass allergy are getting a double whammy effect,” said Ellis.
Allergies can also develop at any point in one’s life. Ellis says for the most part environmental allergies tend to be life long, but for some, that could change.
“It’s more common, obviously, for allergies to start in childhood, but I see many people who begin their first rounds of symptoms in their twenties, thirties, sometimes even forties, and fifties,” said Ellis.
Ellis says treatment involves taking an over-the-counter, non-sedating antihistamine like Claritin, Reactine, Arius or Alegra. Try to avoid things like diphenhydramine, or Benadryl as that can lead to a hangover effect the next day and you may not function the same.
“And some people have to take a day off work because their allergies are so severe and in that case don’t suffer in silence and ask for help from your primary care provider,” said Ellis.
But hang tight because allergy sufferers may soon catch a break.
“There’s usually a bit of a hiatus over the summer, a bit of a break between late July to the middle of August,” said Ellis.
But be sure to restock your tissues again around August 15 because that’s when ragweed season starts.