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The Medical Station Manages Spring Allergies

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The Medical Station Manages Spring Allergies

With spring upon us, and approximately one in four Canadians suffering from yearly seasonal allergies, now is the perfect time to discuss allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. The Medical Station, currently open in North York, investigates the causes and contributors of hay fever, as well as how to manage these allergies for a more enjoyable spring.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is the inflammation of the nose caused by the immune system’s overreaction to airborne allergens. These allergens are increasingly present as we transition from winter into the spring season.

What Really Causes Spring Allergies?

Allergic rhinitis begins with the inhalation of allergens present in the air around us. When these allergens enter the nose of someone who is allergic, the immune system responds to these foreign intruders to the body.

The immune system releases antibodies to attack these allergens, causing chemicals called histamines to be released. These chemicals are an irritant to the body, and trigger the symptoms commonly associated with spring allergies, like a runny nose and itchy eyes.

Biggest Contributors

With the spring season comes the blooming of flowers, trees, and other plants. While blossoming nature is enjoyed and appreciated by many, it is also the main culprit for the onset of spring allergies. Pollen grains and molds are the products of the blooming process.

Each spring, billions of pollen grains are released into the air by trees alone, triggering the onset of symptoms that characterize hay fever. Many trees native to the North York and Toronto area contribute to this figure, including various Maple, Elm, and Ash trees located around the region. Various grasses and weeds also play a part in inciting allergic responses, including the Toronto-native Ryegrass.


The various airborne products of trees, grasses, flowers, and weeds result in a variety of symptoms pertaining to respiratory and ocular irritation. Among others, symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Dark circles under the eyes

While these symptoms prove to be irritating and disruptive to daily life, they are relatively harmless and benign. It is, however, possible for these symptoms of allergic rhinitis to develop into more serious reactions.

For example, a runny nose caused by blooming flowers may go on to spurn the development of a nasal or sinus infection. As well, airborne allergens can trigger asthma, causing the airway to narrow, resulting in shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.

The Medical Station Offers Allergy Management Tips

The Medical Station provides tips and advice to manage the severity & symptoms of spring allergies:

  • Know when pollen counts are high. Pollen, a powerful allergen, is present in the air in higher concentrations on dry, windy days, and lower concentrations following rain. You can find your local neighbourhood’s pollen count at any time here.
  • Exercise outdoors when pollen counts are low. Exercising causes increasingly rapid and deep inhalation, with can result in a greater intake of allergens.
  • Wear more clothing made out of natural fibers, like cotton. Synthetic fibers create an electrical charge that attracts airborne allergens.
  • Take allergy medications. Antihistamines such as Benadryl or Claritin prevent allergy symptoms from arising, while decongestants and eye drops relieve specific nasal and optic symptoms respectively. 

The Medical Station also highly recommends that you understand the cause of your allergy-related symptoms. A firm understanding in what brings about your allergies is very important for managing your exposure to allergens and diminishing the severity of your symptoms.

Your Family Physician at The Medical Station can carry out a variety of tests to determine which allergens you are susceptible to. This may include a skin test, in which your skin is exposed to a small amount of allergen in a controlled manner, resulting in a dermal irritation if said allergen causes allergic irritation.

Our Family Physicians are exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced on matters of human health, with the intent of providing comprehensive, patient-centred care. We urge you to consult your Family Physician at The Medical Station if you would like to learn more about your susceptibility to allergies, and methods of coping with them.

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