It’s that time, swollen eyes, stuffy nose, itchy throat, uncontrollable coughing, rashes and much more. With Spring comes allergies, something most Houstonians are never ready for.
In Houston, pollen season can last all year. Because of our warm weather and high humidity, there all always allergens populating in our air. Amongst some of the common tree pollen producers are ash, cedar, cedar elm, elm, hackberry, oak, pecan and pine. Each tree has its own pollination period and peak, but expect some type of tree pollen in the air during the entirety of the season. A Bahia, Bermuda, Orchard, Red Top, Sweet Cernal and Timothy are among some of the grasses that make some Houstonians sneeze. Grass pollen counts begin to climb in March and peak in May. While Ragweed pollen hits the air in August and can be a problem into October. Believe it or not these are just a few of natures many allergens that cause people grief.
Those who expect the worse constantly are planning ahead for the allergy season, in hopes that they will be able to break the cycle. Compliance and patience play an important role when treating pollen allergies, as finding the right therapy requires a partnership between doctor and patient, one that might not produce over night results. Allergies, though an annoyance can cause more serious issues such as sinus infections, ear infections and more severe respiratory issues, and should be treated to the best of one’s abilities.
The most commonly used medications for seasonal allergies are antihistamines, which reduce the amount of histamines released in a person or block them altogether, and decongestants, which shrink nasal tissue and blood vessels in affected areas. These can include Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. More severe symptoms require stronger and different types of drugs, such as Singulair, Alrex eye drops and Nasacort nasal spray. In the case that those over the counter drugs do not help a patient it is important that they see an allergist. An allergist works with a patient to find the drug or combination of drugs that best manages the hay fever and allergies. In conjunction with treatment, one might try things such as saline rinses, consuming local honey, and making diet changes to boost immunity to name a few.
With great discomfort can come relief. Do not give up and consult with your doctor’s about your symptoms and what the necessary steps are to find a healthy balance. Don’t worry, just breathe!