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‘It’s not a cold’: Hay fever arrives early thanks to mild winter

Last Updated Jan 29, 2019 at 6:57 am PST

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Summary

BC Lung Association says its data shows a rise in early-season symptoms for allergy sufferers over the last five years

Things are worse for people who are allergic to grass and tree pollen

Avoiding pet dander, house dust mites, smoke, polluted air may help prevent triggering of 'seasonal' allergies

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Grab the tissue box! It’s already time for hay fever, thanks to mild winter conditions.

According to the BC Lung Association, allergy season can now be a year-round affair for people who are allergic to grass or tree pollen.

Kelly Ablog-Morrant, director of health education and program services at the Lung Association, says she now has symptoms through all four seasons.

“Because the weather has been beautiful, I guess the grass, the tree pollen, the weed pollens are active and that’s what hay fever is all about; it’s caused by a variety of symptoms in the nose, throat and eyes,” she said.

Signs of allergies may include a grab bag of coughing, sneezing, sore throat, itchy eyes, congestion, or a runny nose.

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Testing over the last five years show the allergy season is getting longer and arriving earlier, especially around Metro Vancouver, according to Ablog-Morrant.

“You can have a sore throat and fever and be feeling unwell,” she said, adding that symptoms can be bad enough to make people miss work or school.

Some people may mistake their own suffering or that of others for a cold.

“It’s not a cold, it’s totally different from a cold … it’s so common and it’s so annoying.”

If you think your allergies may be triggered already, Ablog-Morrant suggests avoiding other airbourne allergens that might make things worse, such as dust, pet hair or dander and smoke from cigarettes and wood fires.

If that doesn’t help clear things up, she says it’s important to see a doctor or a specialist.

“For me it’s really important to be checked,” she said. “It can go on for weeks.”

 – With files from Estefania Duran