Every year, without fail, summer brings changes to our surroundings: more sunlight, heat, greenness and flowers, among many others. For some people, these changes also mean increasing physical discomfort because along with the flowers, trees and grass comes pollen.

The discomfort caused by pollen can be felt by many people, like watery eyes or a stuffy nose. More often than not, people first turn to the internet to find out what their symptoms mean and to identify some possible options for relief.

At its core, an allergic reaction means that our immune system is overreacting to a foreign particle that may be harmless otherwise. In some cases, the immune system deploys a defence, producing symptoms of airway irritation that resemble a cold, including a runny nose, watering eyes, fatigue and trouble breathing.

Even though the symptoms of an allergic reaction or an asthma attack are mostly felt in the respiratory system, they have been linked to other health conditions like myocardial infarctions and earlier deliveries in pregnant women.

As shown in this Google Trends result, searches for the term “seasonal allergies” in Canada tend to spike around the same dates as the pollen concentrations in the air do: around the third week of April.  […]