August 30, 2019
What Are the Worst Allergies in West Texas?
An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees harmless substances like dust mites, pet dander, mold, food protein, or plant pollen as a threat. Antibodies mistakenly identify the protein in the allergen as an invading enemy and take defensive action – which is where your allergy symptoms come in.
What many people think of as seasonal allergies are commonly referred to as hay fever, while the medical term is “seasonal allergic rhinitis.” Signs of dust mite allergy include those common to hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergy also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
With the relatively mild weather in cities like El Paso and Midland, flowers and trees bloom early in the year and continue producing pollen. Allergies are stronger and persist over an extended period. According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, El Paso was ranked the 13th for worst spring allergies. Dust can also be an issue in dry weather, because the climate is so dry, there is more dust present in the air. Especially an issue for those who are asthmatic, dust can wreak havoc on the respiratory system. Dust mites aren’t as big of an issue outdoors, but since many people use humidifiers in their homes, this can create quite an issue for those with allergies.
Common El Paso and Midland Allergies
Mulberry and Oak are two top tree allergens that hit El Paso and West Texas hard. We have also seen Cedar this season.
Mulberry season starts in mid-February to mid-April and is known to be a heavy pollinating tree. The male trees produce this troublesome pollen-posing significant allergy problems.
Cedar season hits just after the first freeze, which in El Paso, usually means in December. The cedar season lasts through early to mid-February.
Oak season starts in late March to early April and is known for leaving a light film of yellowy – green dust that covers just about everything from cars, to outdoor furniture and everything in between. Oak season typically dies down around in mid-May.
These start to show up in June and can last through December, with a particularly intense burst of ragweed that usually hits in the fall. Wind-blown ragweed allergens can travel for hundreds of miles. Just one plant produces more than one billion grains of pollen per season.
Talk about how these are dry places, so you wouldn’t think of grasses being a problem, but they still are because grass pollen can travel hundreds of miles. Grasses are another common allergen that make our El Paso and Midland pollen counts soar, usually from June to late August. There are many types of grasses that can cause grass allergies, and it’s possible to be allergic to more than one type of grass. The most common grasses are Bermuda Rye and Prairie Koeler. Grasses release pollen into the air. The wind can carry it for miles and it remains even in a dry climate. Grass pollen is microscopic.You may not see it in the air. But if you're allergic, your body may react even to small amounts.
Talk about how mold is still an issue in these dry climates because it can collect in your home. Mold thrives in damp, humid, and cool environments, especially in decaying plant matter –leaves and grass clippings, compost piles and rotting, wet wood. Mold spores spread just like other pollen allergens. Mold spreads easily indoors and with the mild weather in West Texas, Black mold can be found across the country and only needs some source of water (ie: leaky roof) to thrive. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth. Although homeowners can’t see them, their presence can aggravate allergies, sinus conditions and respiratory ailments, making the home a toxic place for every member of the family.
Click here to see a full list of the allergens in El Paso!
Allergy Symptoms to Look Out For:
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy, stinging, and watery eyes
- Feeling tired or having trouble sleeping
- Coughing and wheezing
Remember, allergy symptoms can be similar to a common cold or the flu! Check out our guide to help you tell the difference.
Additional Tips to Control Your Allergies in West Texas.
- Check your El Paso pollen count regularly! There are many apps that can easily track many cities at once.
- Change your clothes and remove shoes when coming in from the outdoors.
- Stay inside with closed doors and windows when pollen counts are at their highest.
- Change your air filters each season, so trapped mold and other allergens do not get released into the house.
- Install a HEPA filter to eliminate harmful allergens and particles.
- Use a dehumidifier set to keep indoor humidity below 50%.
- Consider replacing indoor carpet with wood or tile.
Being a West Texas resident usually means being allergic to one of the many allergens in the air. At Aspire Allergy & Sinus our allergy specialists are highly trained in testing, diagnosing, and treating allergies. If you’re tired of taking over the counter medications with no long term relief, come see us and request an appointment today!