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Ah-Ah-Choo! How to Help Clear Your Seasonal Allergies in Houston

NightLight · April 27, 2022

As if a runny nose and red eyes weren’t enough to ruin your warm weather look, summer allergies can gift you with even more than you’ve bargained for this year. In fact, some unusual symptoms can leave you looking like you lost a round in a boxing ring.

Even if you’ve never before had allergies, they can suddenly strike at any age and time of year.

The overall allergy prevalence worldwide has been trending higher over the past 30 years. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies affect around 20 million adults and 6.1 million children in the United States.

Allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny and/or Itchy Nose
  • Itchy, Burning, Watery, and/or Swollen Eyes
  • Nasal Congestion/Stuffiness
  • Dry Cough (typically producing little, if any, mucus)
  • Ear Congestion
  • Ear Popping
  • Sinus Drainage
  • Sinus Pressure
  • Sore Throat (often with itchiness or tickling feeling)
  • Wheezing

It can impair quality of life as many children often complain of symptoms like difficulty thinking, fatigue, and trouble performing at school when their allergy symptoms are at their worst.

Allergies are also linked with other types of respiratory conditions, like asthma and sinus infections. Therefore, being able to improve allergy symptoms can help avoid other conditions.

In addition to allergies, colds and flu are also running rampage this time of year. With allergies, your child will not typically have a fever, fatigue, body aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea though they may sometimes experience headaches brought on by sinus pressure. It is important to consult your primary care provider on the difference in symptoms to receive a correct diagnosis.

You might want to consider seeing a health care provider if these undesirable signs accompany your sniffle and sneeze.

Allergic Shiner: Dark circles under the eyes which are due to swelling and discoloration from congestion of small blood vessels beneath the skin in the delicate eye area.

Allergic (adenoidal) Face: Nasal allergies may promote swelling of the adenoids (lymph tissue that lines the back of the throat and extends behind the nose). This results in a tired and droopy appearance.

Nasal Crease: This is a line which can appear across the bridge of the nose usually the result of rubbing the nose upward to relieve nasal congestion and itching.

Mouth Breathing: Cases of allergic rhinitis in which severe nasal congestion occurs can result in chronic mouth breathing, associated with the development of a high, arched palate, an elevated upper lip, and an overbite. Teens with allergic rhinitis might need braces to correct dental issues.

Common allergens in Houston include:

  • Pollen
    • Houston’s common tree pollen creators include:
      • Cedar Elm
      • Ash
      • Elm
      • Pecan
      • Cedar
      • Oak
      • Pine
      • Hackberry
      • Juniper
      • Box Elder
      • Birch
  • Mold – Houston’s high humidity levels create a higher rate of mold allergies than other parts of the U.S.
  • Grass

Pollen, mold and insect stings are common allergy culprits during the summer months. But fresh produce, such as celery, apples and melons, can also cause allergy symptoms. This is known as food pollen syndrome, cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables and some tree nuts.

Treating Allergies in Houston

Avoiding allergens is usually the first recommendation to manage allergy symptoms, however, this can often be difficult.

Allergy prevention tips:

  • Stay away from allergen hot spots.
  • Take a vacation in areas low or free of allergens.
  • Use air conditioners to help keep pollens and molds away.
  • Manage dog or cat allergies by brushing and bathing your pet at least once a week. Reduce airborne animal dander with HEPA air filters.
  • Eliminate dust from your home. Focus on cleaning the dust mite hideouts like blinds, feather pillows, carpeting, stuffed animals, and down blankets. Kill dust mites by washing your bedding in hot water weekly.
  • Get rid of draperies, carpeting, or upholstered furniture in bedrooms.
  • Avoid irritant exposure like fumes, chemicals, air pollution, and tobacco smoke.

Medications (with consultation from a pediatrician) includes:

  • Antihistamine
    • Antihistamine medications are easily accessible over the counter without a prescription.
  • Intranasal Steroids
    • Intranasal steroids help relieve nasal congestion and may be combined simultaneously with antihistamines. You may find these available over the counter, while certain medications require a prescription.

Before turning to over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays for relief, allergy sufferers should speak with a health care provider to ensure medication is right for them and enough to combat symptoms.

Children with allergies may also suffer from eczema, a genetic sensitive skin type that can be irritated easily by allergens in the environment. Symptoms can manifest into skin reactions like itchiness, redness, irritation, dryness, or a rash if allergens comes in contact with their skin.

Read more about childhood eczema here.