Austin allergy suffers can't catch a break

If you're sniffling and sneezing more often this year, it's not all in your head. The Central Texas weather pattern is, to some extent, a big part of that problem.

If you're sniffling and sneezing more often this year, it's not all in your head. The Central Texas weather pattern is, to some extent, a big part of that problem.

"People who have tree pollen allergies - if they're allergic to cedar and spring trees - they're not getting a break at all this year. It's just one season going into another," said Dr. William Howland of the Texas Allergy and Asthma Center.

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He is among the experts who say it's due to two factors. First, the rise in mercury.

"Although we've had a couple of cold days so far this winter, the majority of our winter has featured above average temperatures," KVUE Chief Meteorologist Albert Ramon explained.

It was unusually warm in December and January, and with February coming to a close next week, it could be one of the warmest on record.

A bunch of warm breezy days also sent the pollen count skyrocketing.

"This year on Feb. 10 through the 13th we had a hundred times as high pollen levels as we did last year in February," Dr. Howland added.

If that wasn't enough our wet winter is the second reason Central Texans with allergies are really suffering.

We all know it helps wash away the pollen, but it's only a temporary fix.

Dr. Howland added, "If it's just intermittent it only helps while it's raining, and then afterward there's a rebound."

Above average rainfall in December, January and February caused two common triggers, grass and mold, to grow quickly.

People with aversions to ash, elm, and oak usually start feeling it in April but this year those allergies may flare up sooner.

"I think the spring pollens will be high again by tomorrow," said Dr. Howland. "It doesn't take long after the rain if we get dry weather and the trees are ready to let the pollen out."

Dr. Howland recommends a cortisone spray once a day.

If that doesn't help you can also use a non-drowsy daily antihistamine and even antihistamine eyedrops.

"Don't let your allergies control you," he added. "Just take the right things at the right time and enjoy Austin."

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