It seems there is always some pollen allergen floating on the airwaves of Houston, lingering, waiting for an opportunity to invade human air pathways and cause that congestion, sniffling, and watery-eye misery of allergies.
The worst of spring is behind us and the worst of summer awaits, but even in the interregnum despair lurks.
“I think we had a very late allergy season,” Kelsey Seybold Allergist Dr. Eric Sandberg says. “Rather than starting up in mid-February, things got pushed back a month or so due to the freeze.”
In Greater Houston, spring is the season of tree pollen, Texas legendary for cedar pollen that infiltrates in winter first and haunts for months, and oak pollen, known to cover cars in a green film at its peak. Juniper and Birch pollens can also produce the itchy eyes, stuffed nose, sneezing and coughing associated with seasonal plant allergies. Box elder, in the maple family, can cause a rash and trigger asthma.
There are some people still not sure how to tell whether their symptoms are Covid or season allergies. “Usually with Covid we’re more likely to see fever with muscle aches,” says Dr. Sandberg. “Sneezing is more common with allergy sufferers, and certainly itchy nose and itchy eyes.” He says if you are concerned Covid tests are readily available, and strongly advises everyone to get a Covid vaccine.
More sniffles can be expected. Ragweed is more common in summer and fall.
Grass pollen also activates in spring.
photo: Getty Images