Health and well-being

10 tips for surviving seasonal allergies

4 min

The snow has melted, the blossoms are blooming, the birds are singing, the days are getting longer... and you've never been so miserable! Runny nose, constant sneezing, itchy throat, watery eyes, splitting headache... it's spring allergy season!

What are allergies?

Pollen from trees is one of the main triggers of spring allergy symptoms. Trees, which are dormant during the winter, burst back to life again in spring, with renewed intensity and greater vitality. They are ready to reproduce, and to do so, they release pollen into the air. Unfortunately, fellow humans, we find ourselves caught in the crossfire. For many of us, our immune system reacts to pollen. It perceives it as harmful to our bodies and releases chemical compounds, mainly histamine, which is responsible for most allergy symptoms.

5 ways to prepare for allergy season
  • Stock up on antioxidants. Antioxidants can help reduce the inflammation that occurs during allergic reactions. Fruit (especially strawberries, raspberries, cherries and cranberries), vegetables (especially Brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach), turmeric, fish (especially red tuna, salmon, prawns and mackerel) and even dark chocolate are exceptionally rich in antioxidants.
  • Watch the pollen forecast. The level of pollen and its source varies from day to day and from region to region. Be sure to check the local pollen forecast and air quality index online. You can also consult the pollen calendar below for regions in Eastern Canada

.You can download the PDF version of this calendar by clicking here.

  • Prepare your anti-allergy arsenal. It's time to plan ahead and get equipped. Check the allergy medication you have at home, if any. Make sure they haven't reached their expiry dates and replenish your medication if necessary. Above all, don't forget to stock up on tissues; they're our best friends during the seasonal allergy season!
  • Get a head start with your garden. Even if it's still a little early in the season to plant vegetables, at least tidy up the garden as soon as you can, before the peak allergy season. Remove dead plants and leaves to reduce mould.
  • Don't forget natural antihistamines. This medicine stops the action of histamine and helps soothe allergy symptoms. It is, of course, available in over-the-counter anti-allergy medicines, but antihistamines can also be found in natural products, such as nettle leaf tea and green tea. Quercetin, found especially in capers, is also a powerful antihistamine. Nature may give us allergies, but it also gives us cures!

5 ways to live with seasonal allergies 
  • Close your windows. Whether you're at home or in a car, on hot days when pollen levels are high, keep windows and doors closed and use air conditioning instead.
  • Skip the clothesline. There's hardly anything that smells quite as good as sheets that have dried in the sun. Unfortunately, that sweet scent is usually accompanied by our enemy, pollen. For this reason, it is recommended to skip the clothesline during the peak allergy season.
  • Don't mow the lawn. Now you have a good reason to pass this task on to someone else! Pollen settles everywhere on the lawn; mowing it will inevitably land you in a swirl of pollen that will only exacerbate your allergic reactions.

  • Wash, wash, wash. After spending time outdoors, remember to wash your hands or even take a shower to get rid of the pollen. You can even throw your clothes in the wash if you need to.
  • Wear sunglasses. Give your eyes a little anti-pollen shield when you're outside. Hats are also a good way of keeping pollen out of your hair.

Although seasonal allergies are usually temporary and fairly harmless, they can be a nuisance. Be prepared! Although you usually don't need to see a doctor, don't hesitate to talk to your local pharmacist for further advice. And remember that with a Bonjour-santé membership, you have unlimited access to e-consults with our teams of nurses and pharmacists, who can give you advice without you having to even leave the house!

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