March 7, 2010 — Mild weather across British Columbia this winter has triggered an early start to the province's allergy season. Here's Oga Nwobosi with the details on why people are already sneezing.
The last few weeks have been unseasonably warm across much of British Columbia, and now pollen allergy sufferers are paying the price.
A mild winter can cause trees to pollinate earlier and could bring an early start to the allergy season. Mild and warm weather that continues in the spring also can increase pollen counts.
Doctors say the allergy season in B.C. has been steadily increasing since February. That's about a month earlier than last year..
Right now, The Weather Network's Pollen Forecast shows that the risk of Alder pollen is high in Vancouver.
Pollen is expected to cause problems through the month of April. Grass pollen will likely be the main concern into August, followed by weeds and dust in the Fall.
Meanwhile, many people in Ontario are also blowing their noses. The rapidly melting snow is uncovering moulds that can make seasonal allergy sufferers suffer greatly. Snow moulds can cause all kinds of allergic reactions including, sneezing, wheezing and rashes.
Allergy Specialist Dr. Antony Ham Pong explains why these spores are harmful, 'Since spores are buried under snow, when the temperature warms up, they're released and become air-born. People breathe these moulds in and have these allergic reactions.' Pong says the recent stretch of warm weather has him already seeing patients with a wide-range of allergy symptoms.
Ottawa residents may suffer even more than the average person because the Ottawa Valley tends to trap pollen and moulds.
Pong believes that if the warm temperatures continue and nighttime temperatures hover above the freezing mark, the mould will become a bigger problem.
So how big an issue are allergies for people? According to Johnson and Johnson nearly 10 million Canadians suffer every year, depending on the season. It's also debilitating. A large majority of suffers say it affects their day to day well-being.
If you want to reduce your exposure to pollen, make sure you keep your windows closed and use air-conditioning in your car if need be.
Wondering if this warm spell will continue in British Columbia and Ontario? Tune into The Weather Network on TV. Your National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.