Allergy seasons are getting worse, says new research

If you think your allergies are worse this season, that’s because they probably are. Unfortunately new research tells us that it won’t be getting better any time soon.

It’s no comfort for long-time allergy sufferer Lynda, who was out enjoying a walk at Gibbon’s Park in London, Ont. Monday.

“My allergies have gotten worse every single year for the last ten years,” she said. “It just seems like there's more things in the air, and more things affecting, you know your breathing,” she said.

It’s a common refrain, as those with allergies greet the season with a cough or a sneeze.

“I think this year they've been more severe than other years, especially in the beginning, around March,” said allergy sufferer Joe Bellia, who was also out enjoying the spring weather.

His symptoms? “Itchy eyes, very itchy eyes, and nose, itchy nose,” he explained.

“Every year we seem to hear 'This is the worse year every for allergies,'” said Dr. Samira Jeimy, an allergist and immunologist at St. Joseph’s Health Care in London and assistant professor at Western University.

Jeimy pointed to a recent study in the Journal of Nature which found that environmental allergies are getting worse.

“Our suspicions are right,” she said. “Because of a global warming phenomenon, more carbon dioxide in the environment, the pollen seasons get longer and longer. Plants can produce more pollen because of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and this phenomenon does get worse every year.”

Tree pollen peaks in April and May, while pollen from grass and weeds peaks in the summer and fall.

Pollen counts tend to be at their highest in the morning, before reaching their peak near mid-day.

“If you're exposed outside come back inside, changing your clothes, taking a shower helps,” said Jeimy. “I'm a big fan of nasal flushes. Saline flushes for the nose to flush after can be helpful".

As we slowly emerge from the pandemic it may be difficult to distinguish between your seasonal allergy symptoms and COVID-19. But, Jeimy said there are some major differences.

“Allergies don't really give you fever. Allergies don't give you gastro-intestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Allergies tend to cause a lot of sneezing, as opposed to more of a congested cluster of symptoms,” said Jeimy.

About 30 per cent of us suffer from allergy symptoms. They tend to get worse as we age.