Allergies in Houston, TX
If you've lived in Houston for any period of time, you're familiar with Houston allergies. Suddenly your eyes feel itchy, your nose is running and you feel like you're sneezing every five minutes. With our mild climate we often experience allergy symptoms during all four seasons, fall allergies, spring allergies, summer allergies and sometimes even winter allergies.
Allergens are fierce here in Houston, which is why we here at Texas Sinus & Snoring want to help you understand what is happening and what you can do to help relieve the symptoms.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Symptoms of seasonal allergies in Houston vary person to person and allergen to allergen. Some of the symptoms closely resemble symptoms of other things like a cold or flu. This is why allergy testing is so important. Symptoms may include:
- Itching of the nose, eyes and throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Watery Eyes
- Red or Swollen Eyes
- Ear Pressure
- Hoarse Voice
- Chronic Cough
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What Happens During an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction occurs when your body’s immune system reacts to contact with a foreign substance. It’s like a warning signal goes off in your body and your immune system sends out antibodies to defend it. This is your body’s natural defense system.
This is great when it comes to fighting viruses and bad bacteria. In the case of allergens, your body is attacking a substance because it thinks its harmful, even though it really isn’t.
If you come in contact with offensive pollens or molds, your body will release a large amount of allergen specific antibodies. These antibodies bind to mast cells, which are then triggered to release histamines. Histamines are what cause the allergic symptoms like runny nose and watery eyes.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies
Get an Allergy Test
Knowing exactly what allergens are causing your allergy symptoms is the first step towards treatment. An allergy test is the only way to know this. We do allergy tests right in our office.
When it comes to allergens it can be hard to avoid them. Especially during the “yellow pollen” season we see here in Houston every spring. If you have bad allergies in Houston there are are things that you can do to help. Here are some common practices that can help limit your exposure, especially during peak allergy season.
- Rinse your Nose with saltwater (see our video here)
- Shower before bed to remove allergens from your hair and body.
- Check daily local area pollen and mold counts and avoid extended time outside.
- Replace AC filters regularly and consider investing in an allergen filter.
- Delegate outdoor chores like lawn mowing and weeding or wear a pollen mask.
- Close doors and windows when pollen counts are high.
- Clean floors often.
- Antihistamines: These can give temporary relief to the allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose.
- Decongestants: Oral decongestants can relieve the stuffy nose feeling that comes with allergies and help mucous to flow. Limit decongestant use as long term use can actually prolong symptoms and make blood pressure difficult to control.
- Nasal Sprays: Sprays like Flonase and others can help relieve symptoms.
- Drink lots of water to help loosen mucous build up.
- Do regular saline nasal washes.
Allergy Immunotherapy : Get Rid of Seasonal Allergies for Good
Allergy Immunotherapy is a preventative treatment for seasonal allergies. First we identify your specific allergies with an allergy test. Then we build a treatment plan. Treatment can be in the form of a shot, tablet or drop. Essentially you are given very small doses of the things you are allergic to so your body can build up immunity and will no longer react with an allergic response.
Predicting Seasonal Allergies | Houston Pollen Count
We can use previous allergen data to predict when certain plants will pollinate and when mold spores will be high causing Houston allergies to skyrocket. The best way to determine allergen count is to consult a local AAAAI certified pollen and mold count station. Our Houston Health Department has a certified station who does pollen and mold counts Monday through Friday. You can check the current Houston mold and pollen counts by clicking the button below.
Complications of Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergy reactions are just your body trying to defend itself. However, without treatment this can trigger other issues and complications.
What Allergens are in Houston?
Seasonal allergies are largely determined by your location. What is currently blooming and pollinating contribute greatly to what your body may be reacting to.
We've created handy monthly allergy guides for Houston. Visit our blog to learn more.
Understanding Different Kinds of Allergies
These include hives, allergies to poison ivy and oak or sumac, insect bites, cosmetics and nickel.
The first distinction to make is whether you are having an allergy or are just intolerance. Food allergies can cause hives, rashes, upset stomach, diarrhea or even anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction. The most common food allergies or intolerances are milk, casein, egg, wheat, nuts, fish and shellfish.