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More pollen on the way for southern Alberta this summer

Pink flowers are seen at Green Haven Garden Centre in Lethbridge. (CTV News) Pink flowers are seen at Green Haven Garden Centre in Lethbridge. (CTV News)

Pharmacies in southern Alberta were as busy as ever this spring, with many people seeking allergy relief in April and May.

“Certainly everyone was a lot more conscious of more pollens in the air at that time. People can have allergies to a variety of different species, trees grasses and such,” said Igor Shaskin, pharmacist and owner of Stafford Pharmacy and Home Healthcare.

While spring is best known for its allergy problems, summer comes with its own challenges since many plants with pollen or strong smells have yet to bloom.

Even some common garden plants could be creating more sneezing and coughing.

“We find that people are very sensitive to and allergic to our fragrant flowers. So they've got pollen but they've also got the fragrance. A big one in that is our beautiful lilacs, they're in full flower right now,” said Karen Barby, co-owner of Green Haven Garden Centre.

Gardeners may want to think about what they plant if they're allergy-sensitive, but there are plenty of options for those who struggle with pollen and strong scents.

“There's quite a few annuals like begonias. Begonias have no scent whatsoever and I don't believe that's a problem with allergies. Even plants that have a coloured leaf but don't have a flower on them. There's barberries which is a shrub and a lot of those are quite popular in the purple shade,” Barby said.

There's still help for people who suffer from chronic allergies. Over-the-counter allergy medications provide relief and can often be taken every day, but there are other things you can do to cut back on pollen.

“If they're conscious if there's a lot of pollen in the air to avoid some activities. Don't hang your clothes, although everybody likes to do that this time of year when the pollens are out so you try to reduce that pollen load when you bring them in the house,” said Shaskin.

It's unclear yet just how bad pollen will be for the rest of the summer, but in the short term, recent wet weather will help to keep the pollen count down. Top Stories

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