The blooms and buds of springtime, along with the pollen particles, can be a source of suffering for those who experience seasonal allergies.

Sylvia Fairhead says just starting the lawnmower can strike up the sniffles. “I get allergies, especially when I’m cutting the grass because all the old allergens get up in my nose and down my lungs.”

She takes antihistamines but says it isn’t enough, so Fairhead has resorted to wearing a face mask. “I’ve seen it before with other people, so I figured I’d give it a try.”

With lots of allergy medicines lining the shelves, choosing appropriate one can be overwhelming, but pharmacists say taking the right pill can stop the sniffles before they start.

Pharmacy owner Santhosh Sekharan says he has seen a recent spike in seasonal allergies. “The cold weather’s kind of held off the polling spikes, but it’ll start now.” He says identifying your symptoms before reaching for the shelves is key. “It just depends. If it’s just your eyes bother you, there are eye drops. Just your nose, there are nasal sprays. But if it’s a little bit of everything, your antihistamine kind of hits it all.” Sekharan also says there are pediatric formulations for children who suffer from allergies.

Some, like Paul Dumoulin, prefer a homeopathic approach. “I’m not one to run to the drug store and pop all kinds of losenges and things like that, no way.” He says he simply keeps ginger and honey on stand-by.

Experts say anyone can suffer from allergies, even if you’ve never had a problem before, but the older people get, the less likely they are to get them.

Allergy experts say to keep your windows and doors closed when the warmer weather arrives to reduce the flow of pollen into your home. And try showering before bed to lower your pollen exposure. It’s also recommended to consult a pharmacist or your physician for the best defence against those pesky seasonal allergies.