Pollen season is getting longer and more intense, according to research, which indicates why the yellowish dust has been coating car windshields around the city this spring. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)

Pollen season is getting longer and more intense, according to research, which indicates why the yellowish dust has been coating car windshields around the city this spring. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)

Pollen season is getting longer and more intense in central Alberta

More allergies and asthma conditions could result

West Park IDA Pharmacy assistant Kaitlyn Hennigar has a visual reminder that it’s allergy season — whenever she opens her kitchen window, her black microwave gets coated in yellow pollen dust.

“It gets all over everything,” she added on Friday.

Pollen that’s so plentiful it’s also coating car windshields around the city this spring could be an ominous sign of what’s to come.

A recent study found that pollen season was, on average, about 20 days longer in North America now than in 1990 and the pollen concentrations were up about 21 per cent over that period.

The study, shown online at nature.com, suggests that pollen seasons in the future will be even longer and more intense with climate change and rising carbon monoxide levels.

Researchers also found common allergens, such as ragweed, are spreading further north as the climate warms. Ragweed is the primary culprit for hay fever symptoms in the summer and fall around North America.

These changes are expected to cause broader health impacts since longer allergy seasons can cause more allergies and asthma attacks.

According to the World Allergy Organization, up to 30 per cent of the world’s adults and up to 40 per cent of children are already affected with allergic reactions to pollen increasing in frequency and severity.

A ream of medications are available to help relieve allergy symptoms, but Aubrey Pesca, a pharmacist at the Plaza Dispensary, advises talking to a pharmacist or doctor to avoid overuse of antihistamines, or in choosing a medication that adversely interacts with prescription drugs.

Pesca also advises using over-the-counter medicine as a preventative — meaning it works better if taken before going outside, rather than after an allergic reaction sets in.

Red Deer pharmacist Peter Lam, owner of Peter’s Pharmacy Compounding and Home Health, hasn’t noticed an increase in allergy sufferers coming in for medication this spring.

But then last year’s pollen season was comparatively worse, said Lam, who recalled “snow white” clouds of pollen blowing through the air and settling on lawns in 2021. As a result, he sold more antihistamines.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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