Pollen report shows allergen outlook high, very high in Victoria: Weather Network

Pollen report shows allergen outlook high, very high in Victoria: Weather Network

The Weather Network’s Pollen Report shows in Victoria the allergen is predicted at high levels on Monday and Tuesday, then very high starting Wednesday.

Alder, cedar, and juniper pollen is predicted to be at high levels on Monday and Tuesday, then Alder becomes very high on Wednesday.

Elm pollen counts are supposed to remain low through the week.

Dr. Amin Kanani, head of the allergy and immunology division of the department of medicine at UBC says alder trees are the main source of allergies.

“This is the time that we see tree pollen counts increasing, and the main tree pollen that causes allergies is the alder tree pollen,” Kanani says. “And counts are getting quite high. It actually starts in February and gets worse through to March and April and starts to come down by May or June.”

Weather Network says the Pollen Report is based on actual number of particles per cubic metre of air.

High pollen forecast means there is 81-200 grains per cubic metre, very high means more than 200 grains per cubic metre.

Last year, when there were high pollen levels, it lead to a worse allergy season than usual.

Kanani says pollen counts are getting higher due to climate change.

“If you’re looking at a trend over a few decades some data suggests that with global warming the pollen is starting a little bit earlier, and the peak count is higher than in years in the past,” Kanani says. “This is a kind of a trend that you can look at going back a few decades, not necessarily year to year, because there is a little bit of variability.”

He says if someone is experiencing symptoms they believe are linked to allergies, they should go get tested to rule out other causes.

To help deal with symptoms due to pollen allergies, Kanani says there are a few options.

“Those who have mild symptoms, they can start with a non-sedating antihistamines and nasal saline rinses, that’s saltwater in the nose,” Kanani says. “Those who have more moderate to severe symptoms often require some of the prescription nasal sprays and antihistamine eyedrops.”

“Or they can move on to what we call immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is where we expose them to small amounts of energy to develop a natural immunity.”

There are a few differences between allergy symptoms, and symptoms from colds or other causes, according to Kanani.

“They both have similar symptoms of congestion and discharge from our nose, but with allergies usually get a lot more itchiness in the nose, and more sneezing,” Kanani says. “And then with allergies, you of course get the eye symptoms, more often than you do with a cold, so itchy, teary eyes.”

Kanani says another difference is the length of symptoms. Cold symptoms will usually last a few days to weeks. Allergy symptoms will last several months.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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