Oak allergy season expected to last longer this year

Health

Allergists have not-so-welcome news for people who’ve been sneezing and dealing with itchy or swollen eyes. 

“I anticipate this will be a long season, and people will suffer for a little more than they did last year,” said Dr. Thomas Leath at Allergy Free Austin. 

He said recent rain has helped clear out the air of oak pollen, but that was just a day or two of relief.

“Any count above 300 or 400 is enough to cause people with allergies, symptoms,” Leath explained. “So when we hit 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, that’s just even worse.”

On Sunday, the Oak count was 1,583 in Central Texas.

According to Leath, we’ve had high oak pollen counts since mid-March without any significant break. 

The problem may also be exacerbated by the late cedar season, too. Leath said cedar typically peaks around Christmas, but the worst didn’t hit until January. So people may be feeling like they had little to no break between the two seasons. 

“I got cortisone shots, steroids, to make me better,” Austin resident Arnaldo De Jesus Diaz said. He told us he’s doing his best to control his symptoms because not going outside at all to avoid pollen isn’t an option for him. 

Leath said wearing a mask when you’re outside can help, but, “most people get annoyed by that and don’t wear it enough to make a difference,” he said.

“When you come back inside, do a sinus rinse, flush that pollen out of your nose, maybe take a shower to rinse it out of your hair to lessen that impact,” he suggests.

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