Houston allergies: What you need to know

- Good news for those of you with oak and tree allergies; experts are saying the pollen is starting to fade.

But they also said this year they've seen a ten to twenty percent increase in patients with allergies. Although the tree pollen is finally disappearing, it's now the season of grass.

"This is the first time I've ever had them," said Tish Robison. "And they were really bad and until I got some medicine from the doctor. The over the counter didn't work."

Doctors confirm that Allergies have been so bad this year in Houston; people who have never experienced symptoms are getting prescription medications.

"The good news is now we're in April, oak which is the worst tree pollen in Houston, is finally dissipating," said Dr. David Engler, with the Houston Allergies and Asthma Clinic. "But as the tree pollen goes down, the grass pollen is going up now."

Engler has been treating allergy symptoms for over twenty years and said, thankfully, over the counter medications have continued to improve in effectiveness.

"Antihistamines like Allegra, Zyrtec, and Claritin: these are good for symptoms of itchy nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. Things like Sudafed treats symptoms like stuffy nose, sinus pressure, or headaches."

For some patients, shots and prescription medication are the only solution. And Dr. Engler said this year they've had roughly one-hundred patients a week, at their clinic alone, in need of strong medication to get through this season."

"It's been pretty brutal," said Natalie Dunn.  "Every time you go outside the car is covered with pollen so thank goodness for daily allergy medicine and allergy shots."

Engler said quick fixes like Afrin and other short term nose sprays will only last so long before they become ineffective. And he added if you don't treat the symptoms, you risk getting other bacterial infections.


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