Allergy season starting early in Calgary

If you find yourself sneezing more these days, or maybe you have a runny nose? Or itchy eyes?

Those could be the affects of an early allergy season.

Although it is technically still winter, the milder temperatures and snow melt are already creating problems for many Albertans, with seasonal allergy symptoms more in line with the start of spring.

Is it a sign of global warming or just the typical up-and-down Calgary weather?

Dr. Nikhil Joshi, an allergist with Calgary’s AIIM Centre, says he’ll stay away from the controversial takes, and instead focus on the current culprit — snow moulds.

“Snow moulds live — usually — between the snow and the ground and when the snow melts, whenever it does, sometimes we can get a release of spores in the air and a lot of people have issues with that, have seasonal allergies with that,” he explained. “Interestingly, we also find them in basements a lot of time, wherever there’s a little bit of moisture and it gives it time to grow.”

He also says there has been a slight shift in the types of allergy symptoms people are having post-COVID.

“Nasal congestion post-viral, sinusitis that never go away and are kind of perennial at this stage,” Joshi explained.

There’s no denying it’s been a warmer than usual winter here in Calgary, and that could lead to an early pollen season as well.

Joshi says starting allergy medicine early could make all the difference, and will help minimize symptoms.

“There’s lots of new medications that we have now that are much better than the older generation of antihistamines,” he explained. “So, we don’t like things like Benadryl or hydroxyzine anymore — but the newer generation don’t make you sleepy, don’t give you as many side effects we find. There’s lots of options out there — don’t suffer.”

If that’s not enough, the doctor explains that there are other options.

“Nobody likes the idea of recurrent needles but these allergy shots are helping you develop tolerance to these allergens,” Joshi explained. “So, if it’s bad enough that you dread allergy season — you don’t like the spring, you don’t like the summer — that’s sad, spring and summer in Alberta is the best time, you really have to enjoy it.

“I would say try and see a specialist if you can, and try a get in for those shots, if possible.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today