Photo Courtesy: KXAN.com
As we head into April 2021, most people are starting to feel the effects of the amazingly potent Texas pollens. If you haven't already noticed the green dust in the air then be prepared for the sight of the invasive soot covering vehicles, taking over decks, patios and even outside pets! It's as if Tinker Bell blew her magic dust all over the city and instead of flying into the air with a blissful smile on your face, you're sneezing in misery until you are out of breath. A bit dramatic, yes, but true. So what do we do from here? We learn what allergies are and take preventative measures.
Texans are known to suffer all year round with seasonal allergies. If you're from South Texas then you're pretty familiar with mountain cedar beginning as early as December and lasting well into February. Mountain cedar comes from a drought resistant tree known as the Mountain Cedar Tree, which takes over most of central Texas and is the reason for cedar fever. When the northern winter cold fronts start to whirl wind throughout Texas, the high winds carry the mountain cedar through the woods, over the mountains and into everyone's house it blows. Now, that brings us to March through, well, Summer when the grass is greenest producing its own pollens aka Tinker Bell's green dust, next to the oak tree dropping it's pollen pods that look like little green caterpillars, then there is ragweed followed by the summer dust from the dry summer grounds. As beautiful as Texas is, it is potent, that's for sure! Symptoms include but are definitely not limited to so much sneezing, a running nose you'll never catch and a sore throat that has you sounding like you swallowed a frog. Don't feel discouraged, there may not be a full cure, but there is hope.
Fighting Texas allergies is not a fun task but definitely a fight that must be won. Let's start with allergy medications, mostly over the counter such as:
- Nasal spray examples- Nasacort, Flonase, Afrin, and Rhinocort
- Capsule examples- Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Xyzal, Mucinex, Sudafed, etc.
Of course, before starting ANY medications, speak to your doctor. Your doctor is your main health source to feel better and can even prescribe medications or steroids to better heal your symptoms. Moving on from medications and health care, let's talk basic home maintenance. Doing a once a week thorough dusting, sweeping and mopping regime around the house can make a difference for your allergies. Going in and out of your home tracks in pollens from your clothes, shoes and even pets. Keeping a good laundry schedule can reduce the amount of allergens in your home. Pollen and dust get caught in animal fur, so bathing your pets once a week can definitely help both yours and your furry friend's allergies. To help keep the air inside your home clean, use a high MERV rated allergen filter to trap pollens and dust keeping them from spreading through your vents. Air purifiers and humidifiers are another option worth looking into. Air purifiers ventilate a room and humidifiers add moisture to the air allowing for easier breathing and de-congestion. Again, there's hope for every allergy sufferer out there. We just need to stand together and pass a tissue from time to time!
As killer as Texas allergies can be, you don't have to fall victim. Be aware of what season it is as this will help you identify what pollens are making you feel under the weather. Do your research, talk to your doctor and learn how to take measures that will work best for your own prevention. Be smart and be well Texas!