Woman sneezing under tree

How to take control of seasonal allergy symptoms

You might have noticed your seasonal allergies are making an appearance a little earlier this year. Spring has brought on warmer temperatures than usual, causing the pollen levels in Alberta to rise – enter unwanted seasonal allergies.

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, including how we navigate spring allergy season. Allergies are tough to manage at the best of times, but symptoms of seasonal allergies can now be easily confused with those of COVID-19. On top of this new confusion, allergy sufferers may be worried about judgment from sneezing and coughing in public. If you are usually sneezing or coughing your way through spring, summer and fall months, you may now be extra mindful of managing your allergy symptoms.

As a pharmacist, I’ve heard from my clients how frustrating and stressful allergy season can be, particularly right now. Your local pharmacist is available to help you keep your allergy symptoms at bay. There are many ways to manage symptoms to give allergy sufferers peace of mind – so they don’t have to wonder if a runny nose or tickly throat is an allergy symptom or a sign of something more. Here are my top tips to help you take control of your seasonal allergies.

l Check the pollen forecast: The pollen report can help you plan your schedule around your allergies but be sure to check daily as the forecast may change. Try to choose your outdoor activities on days where the pollen count is lower and try to stay indoors on warm, windy days.

l When you are outside, protect yourself: Wear large sunglasses – not only do they protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, but they also help prevent pollen from getting in your eyes. Same idea with wearing a hat – it helps to keep the pollen off your head and body. If you are doing something active outside like gardening or mowing the lawn, consider using one of your face masks to cover your nose and mouth.

l Protect your home from pollen: After time outdoors, we carry a lot of pollen back indoors with us. During allergy season, make sure you’re washing your bedding more frequently, and if possible, keep windows closed to prevent pollen from getting inside.

l Find the right products for your symptoms: The severity of seasonal allergies and symptoms can vary person-to-person. Your local pharmacist can assess your symptoms and recommend appropriate solutions like over-the-counter medications and products that can work for you.

Following these simple tips and taking some time to visit your local pharmacist are an excellent way to manage and prevent uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Visit your local pharmacist and ask us how you can better manage your allergies this allergy season.

Todd Prochnau is a Sylvan Lake pharmacist.

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