If you suffer from allergies, you probably don’t need to be reminded this is fall allergy season – and it’s shaping up to be a particularly bad year for at least one common trigger.
After a not-so-warm and an already chilly return to school, Dr. Harold Kim explains “This fall actually has been quite severe for patients with ragweed allergy.”
Kim is an allergy specialist with St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Immunology Program and says it’s not just one thing making people sneeze.
“This year it was cool in the summer but it was quite wet and so ragweed seems to have been quite high because of that…The mould allergies are [also] always bad this time of year, particularly with patients with asthma it can be quite severe.”
Adding to the discomfort for many are viral infections, Kim says, “Typically about two-and-a-half to three weeks after the start of school we see a peak in viral infections in young children, so the combination of virus infections plus allergy can lead to more severe asthma this time of year.”
If the allergy symptoms are mild, over the counter antihistamines are recommended.
But if those aren’t working, “You should see your doctor and consider getting a prescription nasal spray – which generally are very, very safe – and if that doesn’t work then we recommend seeing one of us as an allergist and at that point we can consider other medical therapy or possibly allergy injections.”
When it comes to allergies southwestern Ontario has a dubious distinction, Kim adds.
“In southwestern Ontario we are lucky enough to have all or the common allergens, so not only do we have the common indoor allergens but we have all of the common pollens and the moulds. So southwestern Ontario is a hotspot for getting hit with everything.”
For ragweed allergies relief often comes when the frost arrives and with the chilly nights already here it looks like those days aren’t too far away.