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Combatting Allergies

Spring is upon us! For some of us, that means bike rides and backyard BBQs. For others, it means the worsening of asthma and/or allergy symptoms.

Seasonal allergies are very common, but many of their symptoms can be prevented or reduced by taking proactive steps. This means knowing what causes your allergies, how to control your environments, which medications are right for you, and when to consider allergen immunotherapy.

An allergen is any substance that provokes an abnormal immune response during which the body attacks an apparent threat that is otherwise harmless. Pollen is one such substance that is released by plants and trees throughout the spring. These plants produce large quantities of lightweight pollen that can travel vast distances via air current and be easily inhaled, irritating the sensitive nasal passages.

If all attempts to relieve allergy symptoms have failed, ask your family doctor to check for other causes or contributing factors, especially if you are experiencing severe trouble breathing.

Severe allergy sufferers may require a referral to an allergist in order to identify the specific allergens causing you so much grief.

Though it’s near impossible to avoid all allergens during allergy season, here are some precautions you can take to minimize exposure and lessen your symptoms:

Know your pollen counts. Visit outlook/Alberta/Calgary to get daily pollen counts

Stay indoors during high counts. If you must go outdoors, do it later in the day when counts are typically lower.

Close your windows when driving. Use the air conditioner if necessary.

Vacuum and dust frequently. Pet-friendly vacuum cleaners generally do the best job of sucking up pollen and other allergens.

Shower before bed. The body and hair can collect a surprising amount of pollen whenever outdoors; you don’t want to transfer that to your bed or clothes.

Avoid drying clothes outdoors. Pollen can easily settle in the fibres of your clothes and trigger allergic reactions when they’re worn later on.


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