Don't let tear-filled eyes, a runny nose, and other allergy symptoms get you down this summer

Summertime usually brings to mind lazy days and warm breezes, not watery eyes and ongoing sneezes. But for many Canadians, it’s allergy season.

Just as in the spring, pollen is the most common allergy trigger. It can travel hundreds of kilometres in the wind, and when it gets into the nose it can trigger characteristic symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, itchy eyes and dark circles under the eyes.

The pollen is not from trees but from grasses and weeds. Ragweed, sagebrush and tumbleweed, as well as timothy, bermuda and sweet-vernal grasses are among the worst offenders.

Treating Your Allergies

Allergies can be treated with antihistamines, corticosteroids or decongestants. These may interfere with other medicines, so be sure to consult your physician or your pharmacist first. There are other ways to reduce symptoms or avoid them altogether:

  • Try to stay inside when pollen counts are high (check The Weather Network’s pollen forecast).
  • Allergy proof your home. Keep doors and windows closed if possible to keep allergens out and consider using an air purifier. It helps to clean home air filters regularly.
  • If you’re mowing your lawn, wear a mask.
  • Change your clothes after being outside since they may have pollen on them.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.