Allergy season is earlier, and more pollen is in the air as the climate warms


Blooming flowers may be an enjoyable thing to many, but it also brings in allergy season, which an expert says seasonal allergies are on the rise.

In Canada, the seasonal allergies are on the rise because warmer temperatures are leading to not just an earlier pollen season, but  also causing plants to release more pollen.

Allergies are sending many to their doctor’s offices such as Dr. Melissa Lem, who is also the president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

“In my own practice, I’m seeing a general overall increase in allergy symptoms presenting earlier than they typically would,” Lem tells CHEK News. “And this backs up what the research shows.”

A collection box monitors pollen amounts in the air in downtown Victoria, and the information is used by forecasters such as the Weather Channel.

Since monitoring started in 30 cities across Canada, Daniel Coates, spokesperson, Aerobiology Research Laboratories, said it’s registered a 20 per cent increase in the amount of pollen in the air.

“There are several factors that could be dictating why we are seeing more pollen in the air, warmer weather is definitely one of them, with the increase in climate change and the warmer weather than we’re seeing,” Coates said.

Those who study the issue say burning fossil fuels releases more inhalable particles into the air, which irritates people’s respiratory systems and triggers the release of immunoglobulin E.

That’s associated with allergic responses in the body and inflammation which can lead to even more issues.

“We know when you have inflammation that increases the risk of kinds of other diseases like increased rates of heart disease and stroke, and even anxiety and depression. Because when your brain gets inflamed, you are not happy either,” Lem said.

Allergy medications are improving, and things like air purifiers can help with symptoms, but dismissing allergies may be tougher as the climate gets drier.

READ MORE: Most of Canada forecast to have higher than normal summer temperatures: Environment Canada

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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