Don’t Suffer From Your Seasonal Allergies

As the weather warms, Mother Nature unleashes a storm of airborne allergens that cause teary eyes and stuffy noses in people who suffer from seasonal allergies, and there are a lot of us who do. In fact, nearly one-quarter of Canadians experience seasonal allergies. Specific allergy inducers vary from region to region and season to season, but tree and weed pollens are among the major offenders. Although not all of them are connected to a particular season, the ten most common allergy triggers across Canada are:

• air pollution
• dust mites (which thrive in humid weather)
• grasses
• insect bites
• mildew
• mould
• pets
• ragweed
• trees
• weeds

When pollen or other triggers are released into the air, we can inhale them, and they can travel into our nasal passages. When we are allergic to a substance we’ve breathed in, our immune system identifies it as an invader and sends out a chemical called histamine to attack it. Our reaction to the histamine is one of the causes of allergy symptoms.

We can begin to develop allergy symptoms at any time of life – in childhood, during our teen years, or even in adulthood. These symptom may include:

• Eyes that are puffy, red or watery
• Itchy eyes, nose or ears
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Frequent sneezing
• Dark circles under the eyes

Some people describe seasonal allergies as feeling like you have a bad cold that never goes away.

Treating Seasonal Allergies

It can be very difficult to eliminate the symptoms of seasonal allergies, but there are steps you can take to manage them. There are both prescription and over-the-counter medicines that can ease the symptoms. Examples include:

• Antihistamines are available as oral medicines, nasal sprays, and eye drops that help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes.

• Decongestants can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness and are available in oral dosage forms, nasal sprays, and eye drops.

• Combination products contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant to provide broader relief of symptoms.

• Cromolyn sodium, which can also ease symptoms, comes in various dosage forms, including nasal spray and eye drops.

• Nasal corticosteroids, a type of nasal spray, reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions.

• Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of chemicals other than histamine that play a role in allergic reactions. These must be taken every day to prevent symptoms before they occur.

• Allergy shots are injections given over a period of time to reduce, or sometimes even eliminate, allergy attacks. Each injection contains a tiny amount of a particular allergen that triggers your allergic reaction. The shot contains just enough of the allergen to stimulate your immune system, but not enough to cause a full reaction. Over time, the amount of the allergen in the shot is increased, and this helps your body get used to the allergen, making you less sensitive to it and less likely to have a reaction to it.

• Allergen tablets are now available. You can take them to increase your tolerance to grass and ragweed pollens. They are taken for about 12 weeks before grass pollen season starts and continued throughout the season.

• Nasal irrigation: In addition to these medications, some people find relief from saline nasal irrigation, which can relive nasal congestion by flushing mucus and allergens from the nose.

Reducing your exposure to allergens can also make it easier to get through allergy season. Here are some helpful tips:

• Avoid outdoor activity early in the morning when pollen counts are at their highest.

• Close doors and windows at night and at any other time when the pollen count is high.

• Don’t hang laundry outside to dry; pollen can stick to sheets and towels.

• When you come in from being outdoors, remove your clothes and shower to rinse the pollen from your skin and hair.

• Use the air conditioner in your home and car rather than opening the windows.

• Try wearing a mask if you must do chores outside.

If you have questions about allergy treatments or if you need help selecting a product to relieve your symptoms, your London Drugs pharmacists are always happy to help you.

Allergy Season is Here: How to Identify and Treat Your Symptoms

Budding blooms, runny noses and itchy eyes are often the tell-tale signs that allergy season has officially arrived. But with this year’s allergy season coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic, it has never been more important for seasonal allergy sufferers to be proactive about symptom management. It is also important to be aware of the difference between seasonal allergy symptoms and those caused by viral infections like the coronavirus or a cold.

Treating Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

While many people think of allergy medication as reactive, allergy sufferers should instead begin taking the medication before experiencing symptoms. Allergy medications can take a few weeks to become fully effective so by taking them proactively, you can save yourself a lot of suffering as the season intensifies.

Treating a variety of allergy symptoms can be a complex process, and it is important to choose the right medications, whether that is antihistamines, decongestants, sinus rinses, nasal sprays, eye drops or a combination. Pharmacists can help you differentiate seasonal allergy symptoms from other health issues, and determine the best treatment to target specific allergens and symptoms.

Allergen avoidance is another way to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. Our pharmacists encourage allergy sufferers to keep windows shut and run air conditioning to recirculate air. Check daily pollen forecasts and limit outside exposure when pollen counts are at their highest. Consider using a HEPA filter at home to help reduce common allergens in the air such as mold, pollen, animal dander and dust mites.

Seasonal Allergy vs. Coronavirus Symptoms

While a wide variety of symptoms have been reported in connection with coronavirus, the two most common symptoms are a high fever and a cough. Seasonal allergies do not cause fever and, unless you have pre-existing asthma, they do not cause symptoms like shortness of breath. Symptoms more common of seasonal allergies include itchy or watery eyes and sneezing.

Symptoms of COVID-19 vary significantly from person to person. Some people may experience mild symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self- isolate immediately, avoid contact with others and get tested for COVID-19.

Seasonal Allergy vs. Cold Symptoms

The similarities between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms can make it difficult to tell which condition to treat. While allergies and the common cold share many symptoms, those who experience seasonal allergies generally suffer from itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose. Symptoms of a cold may include aches and pains, a sore throat, and in some cases a fever and chills, which are not typical of seasonal allergies. A cold will generally only last about a week or two, whereas seasonal allergies will have much longer-lasting symptoms.

Have more questions? Visit the pharmacy at your local London Drugs, where our knowledgeable and experienced pharmacists can help answer any questions you might have about seasonal allergies and symptom management.

If you become ill and think you may have COVID-19, do not visit the pharmacy. Isolate yourself at home. You can access your province’s self-assessment tool at Contact your healthcare provider for advice on how to relieve the symptoms.


Managing Seasonal Allergies

No one enjoys the prospect of allergy symptoms returning as soon as the warm weather arrives, but for children, the itching, runny nose and inability to play with their friends is doubly upsetting. Parents too suffer from seeing their little ones unable to fully enjoy themselves when experiencing the great outdoors.

Although catching colds and other viruses is a child’s rite of passage, allergies can often be confused with colds, leading to poor management. In general, if your child has no fever, and the sniffles and sneezing hang around for weeks, an allergy is likely the cause. Sneezing that continues indefinitely, with a stuffy or runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, may signal the presence of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.

An allergic reaction is the body’s response to a specific substance, or allergen. The immune system responds to the allergen by releasing histamine and other chemical responders that trigger symptoms. If you yourself have allergies, the risk factor for your son or daughter increases by 50 per cent, and if both parents have allergies, this increases to 75 per cent. Learning how to best manage your little one’s allergies means minimum disturbance to his or her enjoyment of life.

Managing Childhood Hay fever

Childhood allergies can best be managed by controlling environmental triggers and providing appropriate medication. Non-prescription allergy medications for children work by blocking histamine, which reduces or puts a halt to the unpleasant symptoms. Ways to minimize potential allergens include the following:

  • Know what your child is allergic to. Hay fever is most commonly caused by grasses, but tree and weed pollens can also trigger symptoms.
  • Be aware of pollen counts in your area (these may be found in your local newpaper, or online). Arrange your child’s play and activities to minimize exposure on days when the count is high.
  • Since pollen is released mainly in the mornings, levels are highest then, and again in the evenings, as pollen settles. Make sure your child is indoors at these times.
  • If your child has been playing outside for some time, be sure to give a shower, or wash exposed areas of skin and hair. Place clothes worn outside in the wash.
  • Keep your child inside as much as possible on windy days, and keep the windows closed. Use A/C in the car if you have it, rather than leave the windows open.

Spring Allergy Season Has Arrived: How to Survive It

Tips for Surviving Allergy Season

Allergy sufferers should start taking medications now to stay one step ahead of symptoms

Experts at Aerobiology Research Laboratories who specialize in pollen and spore identification and research in Canada say there has been a late start to allergy season, but that it has arrived in British Columbia with the rest of Canada not far behind.

The aeroallergen monitoring firm collects pollen samples daily at collection sites across Canada and looks at when pollens are present in the air in each city, assessing the average pollen season length and the number of very high pollen days.

Last year, the average allergy season length across Canada was 115 days, with Victoria, Vancouver, Burnaby, Hamilton, and Brampton experiencing the longest seasons.

Pollen counts across Canada

Tree pollen allergy season start and end dates across Canada last year with number of very high pollen days in each city. Pharmacists recommend that allergy sufferers should start taking their medication about two weeks prior to the start of allergy season as some medications can take a few weeks to become fully effective.

For allergy suffers, the arrival of pollen in the air underlines the importance of taking allergy medications proactively, says London Drugs Pharmacist Craig Forster, in this CTV News story.

Some medications can take a few weeks to become fully effective, so ideally, allergy sufferers should start taking their medication two weeks prior to the start of allergy season to stay one step ahead of symptoms.

A new survey conducted by Insights West on behalf of London Drugs found that four in 10 (40%) Canadians don’t start taking their allergy medications early enough. This includes three in 10 (29%) who say they only take allergy medication when they start to feel symptoms and one in 10 (11%) who take them only when they notice symptoms are not going away. Just seven per cent take them either right at the start of allergy season or two weeks beforehand.

Is it Allergies or Is It a Cold?

One underlining issue is that some people mistake early allergy season symptoms with a cold. The similarities between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms can make it difficult to tell which condition to treat.

The survey underscores Canadians’ confusion, as 65 per cent mistake allergy symptoms for a cold. Most respondents identified the symptoms of a cold as coughing (88%), sneezing (83%), sore throat (83%), runny/stuffy nose (79%), and chest congestion (70%).

When thinking of allergies, most respondents associate them with itchy or watery eyes (93%), sneezing (90%), and a runny/stuffy nose (78%). Fewer than half recognize the other symptoms shown as a sign of allergies, such as itchy ears and throat, wheezing, and long-lasting symptoms.

Although allergies and the common cold share many symptoms, patients experiencing seasonal allergies generally suffer from itchy watery eyes and a runny nose. Symptoms of a cold may include aches and pains, a sore throat, and perhaps a fever and chills, which are not typical of seasonal allergies. A cold will generally only last about a week or two, whereas seasonal allergies will have longer-lasting symptoms.

For allergies, treatments may include antihistamines, decongestants, sinus rinses, nasal sprays, or eye drops.

Pharmacists at London Drugs can help distinguish your symptoms and recommend the right course of treatment based on the severity, your past response to medications, and any other medical conditions.

Visit your local London Drugs and speak with a pharmacist to learn more.

5 Reasons Your Pharmacist is Awesome

Everyone knows that your pharmacist is the expert in filling your prescriptions, but everyone may not know that they provide many other super helpful services as well. We’re celebrating World Pharmacists Day by shining a light on all of the ways your friendly, neighbourhood London Drugs pharmacist can help you maintain and improve your health.

1. They can give you your jabs

Getting immunized isn’t exactly fun, but pharmacists can take the sting out of it by making it easy and convenient. If you’re planning a trip overseas, your pharmacist can help you prepare by reviewing your immunization history, letting you know which vaccines you’ll need for your destination, administering them, and issuing you an International Certificate of Vaccination if you need it.

London Drugs’ Certified Injection Pharmacists are also able to administer influenza vaccinations, as well as the Zostavax vaccine for Shingles.

If you would like to get a vaccination at a London Drugs pharmacy, just ask for more information at the pharmacy counter.

2. They give great advice

Although sometimes necessary, getting in to see a doctor can be time-consuming and complicated. If you’re looking for quick advice about minor ailments or wellness, your pharmacist can be your first stop on the road to good health. You can meet with a London Drugs pharmacist one-on-one to get trusted health advice on anything from allergy relief, diabetes management, nutrition, cough and cold remedies, pain management, stomach health, and eye care. Here’s the best part–no appointment necessary!

3. They help with the kids

Becoming a new parent can be scary, especially if you think something is wrong with your precious little bundle. If you have questions about your child’s health, pharmacists are an accessible resource. They can recommend over-the-counter medications that are safe for your children and provide information on proper dosage to help you treat common baby health conditions such as diaper rash, eczema, cradle cap, constipation, pain and fever, rashes, teething and more. Pharmacists can also refer your child to a doctor or other health professional if they feel your little bundle of joy requires a closer look.

4. They can help you find out for sure

You can never be too careful with your health, and pharmacists make it easier to put your mind at ease. Health screenings are a great way to take control of your health, and London Drugs provides the following convenient screening services and clinics at most of our locations:

5. They care about the community

Pharmacists are not only healthcare professionals, they are caring members of the community that they serve.

For example, last year during the British Columbia wildfire crisis, they provided life-saving services in the affected communities. While London Drugs helped assemble essential supplies and support staff, London Drugs pharmacists assisted those affected by accessing medical histories and contacted insurance providers to ensure quick access to essential medications for people who had to evacuate their homes.

Do you have a great story about how your super-pharmacist saved the day? Share it with us in the comments or on Twitter! #ilovemypharmacist

HEPA Air Purifier Contest

The Honeywell® True HEPA Allergen Remover is designed for large rooms.  Honeywell Air Purifiers are the #1 brand recommended by Allergists.3 This console air purifier will provide cleaner, fresher air in larger rooms while still looking sleek and not taking up too much space.  The True HEPA filter effectively captures up to 99.97% of microscopic allergens as small as 0.3 microns.1  It also features an auto VOC sensor that operates the air purifier automatically. The highly effective filters help reduce odors, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and certain germs.1,2

Your Bluetooth® Smart v4.0 compatible iPhone® or Android™ device can be used as a remote control for your air purifier. You can operate your air purifier from another room in your home within 30 feet of the Bluetooth® Smart device. The App also offers additional features not available on any standard air purifiers, such as proximity sensing for auto shut-off/turn on, air quality alerts and auto-operation based on conditions in your zip code and operation scheduling.  Simply download the free App to your compatible mobile device.

How the air purifier works:  a fan continuously draws in airborne pollutants.  The dirty air passes through the activated carbon pre-filter that traps large particles and absorbs VOCs, gases and odors.  The air then passes through the HEPA filter that captures the really small particles, such as dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, mold spores and more.  The filtered, cleaner and fresher smelling air is then circulated back into the room.

Together with Honeywell, we’re excited to be giving away one Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier with Bluetooth! See below for full Terms & Conditions and how to enter.



London Drugs Facebook Contest Terms & Conditions

To enter: Comment with how an air purifier would benefit your family on the Honeywell HEPA Air Purifier Contest Facebook post.

Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who, as of the date the prize draw is made: (i) have not won a London Drugs contest since June 1st, 2017; (ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as of June 1st, 2018; (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization (if any), or any family member living with any such employee.

No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per person per social network per contest. Entries must be received no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Time on June 15th, 2018. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected. All entries become the property of London Drugs Limited and will not be returned.

One (1) winner will be randomly chosen on the day the contest ends (see dates below) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received per contest. To win, selected entrants must correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question and must sign London Drugs’ declaration and release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize(s) as awarded, releasing London Drugs from liability in association with the contest and prize and consenting to the use of their name, photograph, voice and statements for promotional and publicity purposes.

There will be one (1) prize of one Honeywell Bluetooth HEPA Air Purifier ($299.99). See details and contest date below. Prizes must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. Prizes will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to contest winners.

Contest date – Friday, June 1st, 2018 – Friday, June 15th, 2018, 11:59 PM Pacific Time

Draw date – Monday, June 18th, 2018

Only one prize may be won by any one person and household. In the event that any selected entrant incorrectly answers the skill-testing question or is otherwise unwilling or unable to comply in full with these rules, a new entry will be drawn.

Selected winners will be contacted by email or on the social network they were drawn from. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the winners do not respond then they will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the winners still do not respond within 3 days of the second notification, a new winner will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is successfully contacted.

The chances of winning a prize will depend on the number of eligible entries received. Decisions of the judges in respect of all aspects of this contest including, but not limited to, eligibility of entries and correctness of answers given to the skill-testing question, are final.

London Drugs and their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization, and their respective agents are not liable to an entrant in any manner relating to the contest or the awarding and use of the prize(s).

This contest is subject to all federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering the entrant consents to the collection of all personal information included on their entry and agrees to the use and disclosure of such information by and between London Drugs, an independent judging organization, and their agents. The winner(s) also agrees to the collection, use, and disclosure of their name, entry, photographs, voice, and statements for London Drugs’ publicity purposes without further compensation. All personal information collected from entrants will be used only for the purposes of administering the contest and for marketing and promotional purposes as contemplated by these rules; under no circumstances will any personal information be sold or rented to third parties. All personal information collected by London Drugs will be kept in accordance with the privacy policy of London Drugs, which can be viewed at, and in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.

The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.



  1. From the air that passes through the filter, 0.3 microns and larger
  2. Based on independent testing report 100954017COL-001
  3. Based on the Nov. 2014 Cascade Survey Research results reporting 80 out of 84 (95%) surveyed Allergists that recommend a brand of portable air purifiers to their patients, recommend “Honeywell” air purifiers.

8 Natural Remedies to Relieve Your Allergies

Achoo! The seasonal battle has begun against sneezing fits, sinus problems, hay fever, and eyes that itch. Yes, you know it well: allergy season. With spring flowers comes a sensitivity to the environment—pollen, grass, dust, mold, bug bites, and more. We know they can be annoying to deal with, but how can we properly equip ourselves naturally against allergy symptoms? 

Boy Allergies Pollen Natural Remedy London Drugs Blog

While there may not be one secret weapon to eliminate every allergy symptom, there are a number of natural tools you can use to help you fight your seasonal allergies. Here are a few ways to naturally relieve your allergies.

1. Schedule any outdoor exercise in the evening

If you love taking spring time strolls, waiting to do so until after midday may help to lessen your allergy symptoms. Because most trees release their pollen early in the morning, waiting until the proverbial dust settles (and isn’t swirling around in the air you breathe) can make your time outdoors more bearable.

2. Change your clothes when you come home

When you come home from work, school, or errands, change into other clothing when you return to your house. Pollen likes to hitchhike on your clothing and stick to it like tiny sea urchins, so toss your outside clothes into the wash to prevent pollen from infiltrating the stronghold of your home.

3. Use a Neti Pot to decongest

If you’ve never used a Neti Pot before, you may be a little bit intimidated by the thought of pouring water up your nose. It’s actually not that uncomfortable (really!). It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite effective, and will become a staple in your allergy-fighting regimen. Rinsing with a saline solution up to twice a day for short periods of time can help to clear out your nasal passages and help to lessen the effects of allergies on your sinuses. Learn more about the Neti Pot on our Pharmacy website.

4. Eat local raw honey

Many an allergy-sufferer claims that eating local honey helps them battle seasonal symptoms. It needs to be local because it will contain a wide sampling of different pollen carried on the bees who made it. By gradually exposing themselves to small amounts of local pollen, many people report it noticeably helping them build up a pollen tolerance and overall decreasing their allergy symptoms.

5. Purify the air in your home

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in your appliances—like vacuum cleaners—can help ensure that allergens are taken out of the air in your home, instead of being stirred up and dispersed when you clean. There are also free-standing HEPA towers that you can put in high-traffic areas that will work to keep the air in your home as clear as possible.

6. Use essential oils for support

There are many essential oils that can help to support your immune system while it battles allergies. Add them to a homemade all-purpose cleaner, mix with water in a diffuser, or dilute and apply directly to your pulse points. Especially effective against hay fever, some favourites are lavender, eucalyptus, rose, and peppermint.

7. Put turmeric on everything

This vibrant spice, belonging to the ginger family, is about to become your new best friend. Turmeric contains curcumin, which acts as a decongestant and is a natural antihistamine. If you’re not sure what kinds of dishes you can add this superhero of a spice to, try making this golden turmeric tea recipe in under five minutes. It’s also perfect for curries and stir-fry.

8. Eat allergy-fighting foods

Natural Allergy Support Hayfever Fruits London Drugs

Mother Nature provides many kinds of foods that contain antihistamines, and incorporating as many as you can into your diet can help naturally ward off allergy symptoms. Naturopaths often recommend eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and deep yellow and orange vegetables as often as possible.

So there you have it: your natural weapons against allergies! If you’d like more information on allergy support and managing your symptoms, talk to one of our London Drugs Pharmacists or read more on our Pharmacy website.