It's Tree Pollen

Those wondering why they’re suffering from upper and lower respiratory ailments these days need only look up.

The Houston Health Department Pollen and Mold Count Index shows we’re under “extremely heavy” tree pollen levels today, with oak the prime culprit for our misery and hackberry, cedar, ash, hickory and pecan contributing all they can.

“We’re in the worst part of the season for many,” says Dr. David Corry, professor of medicine-immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Pollen counts are very high, particularly for trees, but grasses are coming up pretty heavy.”

It’s taking a toll. There are a lot of empty desks and calls for days off as people report sore throats, coughing and nasal congestion. If it’s bad, advises Dr. Corry, see your physician. Or take over the counter anti-histamines, nasal sprays and bear it out. He says it’s best to ascertain your particular vulnerability to each type of pollen, be it grass, weed and tree, and jump on antihistamines before the pollen fills the air. Trying to catch up doesn’t usually work as well.

Recent chemical fires have added to breathing difficulties in some areas, and the pollution level is high. Today is another Ozone Action day in the Houston area.

“Not only chemical fumes and particulate carbon from these fires, but also the ozone is incredibly irritating, all the way up and down the airways,” he suggests.

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