AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Limits Music Festival is something music lovers and Austinites prepare for every year—from outfit planning to which sets to catch. But something else to consider is the effect that going will have on attendees’ allergies.

Thousands of people flood Zilker Park for the festival, but all those people, plus the lack of rain, are causing a lot of dust to go up in the air. That dust is causing a lot of irritation on the nose and eyes.

Allergists say they’ve seen an increase in people seeking relief because of the dust. We spoke to one of them, who explained why symptoms have flared up for some folks, and he gave some tips on what ACL Weekend 2 attendees can do to help relieve their symptoms.

John Villacis, M.D., an allergist-immunologist with the Austin Diagnostic Clinic, said exposure to dust at Zilker, on top of it being the middle of ragweed season, is causing a lot of people to struggle with allergies.

“So, there’s two things is really going on right now. One is that, of course, people that were out at ACL last weekend had a lot of exposure to dust; that was probably the main thing that was going on,” Villacis explained.

“But then we also are kind of in the middle of the ragweed season right now, and so ragweed, if you’re prone to ragweed allergies, that’s also affecting people. And so this week, we’ve been seeing a lot of folks that are having nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, post nasal drip, as well as some of the asthma symptoms that have flared up because of it.”

Here’s what Villacis said you could do to prepare and help ease those symptoms:

  • Use medicated nasal spray, like Flonase or Nasonex, once a day
  • Use a saline nasal spray throughout the day
  • Limit your time outdoors
  • If you are going to be outdoors, limit your exposure by wearing a facial covering or mask

He also recommends seeing a board-certified allergist if you’re having severe issues you believe are allergy-related.