Spring allergies. That’s what they are commonly called, but it’s not even spring yet and allergy season in Vancouver has already started! Warmer winters mean earlier starts to the allergy season, and higher pollen counts too. According to a Vancouver allergist quoted on CBC News, this year’s allergies actually started in January, though my patients started to notice their allergies early to mid-February.
Allergy Season in Vancouver
So, what exactly are you allergic to? It is hard to say without proper testing, but you may be able to narrow it down a bit by what is in season at a specific time of year. As mentioned, however, keep in mind that some dates are earlier this year (and recent years), than may be listed at this link because of warmer weather. Also, it may not be a complete listing, but it’s a start. PollenPlus Vancouver
Also, did you know that some foods can cause cross-reactions of allergies? If, for example, you’re allergic to birch trees, you may also have reaction to apples, pears, tomatoes, cherries, carrots, celery, and tree nuts, so you’re best to eliminate those foods from your diet, at least while you’re suffering from your seasonal allergies.
Also, because cold and flu season is not over yet, it is worth considering if your symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, and maybe even sore throat or headache might be a cold. To figure out if you’re suffering from a late winter cold or allergy season in Vancouver, you can check out my past article in 24 Hours newspaper through this link: Is it allergies or a cold?
Treating Allergies Naturally
For some, symptoms are fairly mild. But for others, allergy symptoms can be nearly debilitating. The first year I worked in Japan, I was excited to experience springtime, with all of its beautiful flower trees. That excitement soon disappeared though, as I suffered my first year of seasonal allergies. Every day I walked to work, and every day, by the time I reached the hospital, my eyes were swollen, red, and itchy. I could barely see. I wish I knew then what I know now.
Now I recommend Pascallerg biopuncture injections. Pascallerg is an ultra-low dose of natural ingredients in a sterile ampoule, designed to help modulate an over-active immune system. While also drinkable, I find it more effective when it is injected either just below the skin (subcutaneous) or into muscle (intramuscular), often in acupuncture points.
For extra support, I often recommend vitamin C and quercetin. Some find local bee pollen helpful. While others use plant sterols. Still others find supplemental magnesium does the trick.
One of the most practical things you can do is saline solution nasal rinsing. While it may not sound particularly fun, it is a safe, easy, inexpensive, and effective therapy, as it rinses out allergens that can collect in the nasal passages and sinuses. My preferred rinsing tool is called the Nasaline Irrigator. Horrible name, but what I like about it is that it doesn’t require you to tip your head to get water to enter the nostril via gravity. Designed like a big syringe (I know, I’m making it sound less and less attractive, but it really isn’t scary), you can control the flow, and the pressure allows you to move the water through, even when you are particularly congested. Other useful ways to do nasal rinsing include the traditional neti pot and sinus rinse bottles.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Treats Allergies Too
While all those suggestions I’ve given above are general, when I see someone in clinic, I ask lots of questions, take a look at your tongue, and feel your pulse. All of this gives me clues to your particular areas of health challenge so I can create a treatment plan–potentially including acupuncture, herbs, and dietary suggestions, in addition to the above suggestions.
Have you noticed the early allergy season in Vancouver? What are you doing about it?