Chatting about the weather is one of our favourite pastimes in Canada. But for allergy sufferers, it’s anything but small talk.
Predicting the pollen forecast can be a challenging endeavour, but weather patterns provide significant clues for allergy sufferers, and play a huge role in how long allergy season lasts, when it begins and how intense it is.
A mild winter and spring generally means that the pollen from trees is released into the air earlier than usual, precipitating allergy season and its attendant symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.
A long and cold winter can make for a shorter but more intense pollen season, as the plants and trees that pollinate earlier in the season remain dormant longer than usual. When the weather finally warms up, they release their pollen at the same time as grass, triggering what some people call a pollen vortex, which can pack a serious punch for allergy sufferers.
Other elements also play a role in allergies. Dry, windy weather helps pollen spread quickly and can intensify symptoms. Rain washes pollen from the air and generally provides relief for sufferers—unless it happens late in the year (e.g., fall or winter) when it can increase tree pollination, or in the spring when it stimulates grass growth, causing more pollen to be released into the air. Rain also fosters mould production—not good news for people with mould allergies.
You can help control your environment by using an air conditioner instead of opening windows, and showering before bed to remove the pollens from your hair.
Just keep in mind that with so many variables affecting allergen levels, it’s hard to predict how the upcoming season will play out.
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