Finally! The warm weather is here with its bounty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Unfortunately, this season also brings to blossom seasonal allergies for many of us. According to the Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation, 20-25 % of Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis. Symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, cough and at times asthma symptoms (shortness of breath and wheezing) can dampen the spirits of even the most light-hearted. In June and July, grass pollen is the usual culprit, followed in August and September by ragweed pollen. Â Here are some tips to help allergy sufferers better manage in their affected season. First, monitor the pollen count in your area to help you avoid peak allergen exposure times. The Weather Network’s website is a good resource for providing a pollen count outlook over a 3-day period in your area (for example: www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/forecasts/pollen/british-columbia/mytown). Try to stay indoors when pollen counts are at their highest, remembering that pollen release is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon. Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning at home and in your car to reduce exposure. When outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses to act as a barrier to keep allergens out of your eyes.
To relieve ocular symptoms, allergy sufferers commonly utilize over-the-counter anti-histamine medications, both in oral form or as an eye drop. For an effective home remedy, it’s useful to keep in mind that a clean face cloth soaked in ice cold water over closed eyes provides a surprising amount of relief by reducing the inflammation that causes those red, itchy, swollen eyes. Additionally, regular use of artificial tears will help flush out the allergens, reducing the overall contact response time in your eyes.
Today, there are effective prescription eye drops, used only once a day, that provide both immediate and long-term relief for our allergy sufferers.
It’s also important to note that certain eye infections can mimic the symptoms of ocular allergies. So, if you’ve never had seasonal allergies before and suddenly experience symptoms, feel free to contact one of our Eye Design Optometry offices so that we can provide a proper diagnosis for you not only this season but also in.. your future of vision.