Austin can be a tough city for those who suffer from allergies. Each season has distinct allergens that can wreak havoc on your immune system. Here is a brief overview of the most prevalent allergens for the upcoming Spring season as well as the other seasons. Also, learn about various treatment options and ways to ultimately prevent allergy symptoms.
Oak pollen is most prevalent in the spring with other tree species including Ash, Elm, Pecan, and Cottonwood also producing copious pollen.
Grass predominates in the summertime so lawn cutting and the occasional breeze disperses its pollen widely. If there are plenty of showers, mold can also spike during this season.
Ragweed is the main culprit during the cooler fall months. If the weather is particularly mild the allergen count can be similar to spring levels.
Ashe juniper or mountain cedar trees produces its pollen during the winter months. In fact, on cool, sunny days light “clouds” of pollen can be seen hovering in the Austin air. Cedar allergies are notable for the intense generalized reaction it can produce. “Cedar Fever” feels like the flu with fatigue, bodyaches, and chills.
Symptoms & Treatment
Allergens (pollens, weeds, chemical exposures, etc) sometimes stimulate the immune system to react. Symptoms can range from a simply annoying sneeze to distressing shortness of breath. Typical symptoms are mild such as post-nasal drip, watery/itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. However, depending on both your sensitivity and the environmental count of the pollen, potentially troublesome issues like a persistent cough or even wheezing can develop. Allergic substances range from environmental exposures to chemical pollutants. Even tobacco exposure can contribute to nasal congestion.
The foundation of allergy treatment is a combination of exposure reduction (i.e. leave the environment) and antihistamines such as zyrtec and allegra. For more persistent symptoms the addition of a nasal steroid such as Flonase may be needed. For those with moderate to severe symptoms, visiting a healthcare facility will be required. A prescription for allergy eye drops or even a steroid injection with a breathing treatment may be needed.
Ultimately, the only effective way to rid yourself of allergies is to either eliminate it from your environment or lessen your immune response. Allergy shots or drops (immunotherapy) may be needed to build up the body’s immunity to the allergen and lessen your response over time.