Recently, ARC Allergist Alexander J. Alvarez, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI spoke to Community Impact about the year-round challenge of seasonal allergies in Central Texas. Dr. Alvarez shared valuable insights on how to effectively identify and alleviate these persistent allergic reactions.
What causes allergies?
Allergies are caused by the body's immune system overreacting to something foreign in the environment, such as pollen or mold. The cause of allergies is unknown, but there are predictions among specialists, said Dr. Alvarez.
Those with allergies may experience symptoms like a cold or flu. Some common symptoms related to allergies:
- Sneezing, runny nose, or stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes
- Sore throat
Most common allergens in Central Texas
The allergens in the area include grass, mold, ragweed, dust mites, and trees, said Dr. Alvarez. In spring, trees release pollen through June, and windy, dry conditions move the pollen in the air. In the winter, cedar fever is common. See this chart to identify what is making you sneeze, and when.
Remedies for allergies
- Antihistamines (Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin) — Relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes while reducing a runny nose
- Decongestants (Sudafed, Vicks Sinex, Afrin) — Help relieve stuffiness/congestion
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays (Flonase, Nasacort, Rhinocort) — Reduce swelling in the nose and block allergic reactions
- Nasal rinses (Ayr, Neilmed or own recipe) — Clear sinuses, removing pollen and mucus
Do allergies get worse?
In some ways, yes. After being exposed to common allergens during one season, the next exposure may cause a reaction, said Dr. Alvarez.
What is "cedar fever"?
Allergies in the Austin area from December through February are largely caused by the Ashe juniper tree, more commonly known as the mountain cedar tree. The term "cedar fever" refers to allergy symptoms, including:
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes
- Sore throat
It does not usually come with an actual fever.
Make an appointment today
When over-the-counter remedies are not working, or other allergic conditions, including asthma or eczema, are affecting someone, this is a good time to see a specialist. A specialist can also discover what someone is allergic to and provide additional remedies, said Dr. Alvarez. ARC
Allergy and Asthma specialists are doctors specially trained in diagnosing, treating, and managing allergy and asthma disorders. ARC Allergy and Asthma doctors can diagnose your allergies and asthma, then develop a personalized treatment plan that may include allergy testing, medication, or allergy drops and shots.
Learn more about allergy shots and drops at ARC.
If you suffer from allergies, seasonal or otherwise, book an appointment today with an ARC Allergy and Asthma specialist to get started on the road to relief.
Or choose the Allergy & Asthma tile when scheduling in MyChart.com.