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February 18, 2020

5 Tips to Manage Oak Allergies

Many people across the country have had the pleasant experience of accidentally parking our car under an oak tree. All it takes is a couple hours and your car is now much more yellow and sticky.

Oak is a mainstay in my home state of Texas. We have streets, cities, and even beer named after oak trees. They’re part of what make this state so green and beautiful, but they also make it miserable for a great deal people during the spring. It’s not just about a dirty car, but miserable allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose that oak pollen brings.

How you can get past your oak allergies

First, let’s get it clear that the strategy to just “tough it out” is a BAD way to handle your allergies. Your body isn’t simply going to get better, and with allergy seasons only getting worse, so will allergic reactions and symptoms.

We hear from a lot of allergy sufferers, both jokingly and seriously, about how they need to “just move out of Texas”. The unfortunate news is that allergies can be bad across most of the country. So, unless your hoping on landing some sweet real estate in the North Pole or the Sahara, allergies are going to be a part of your life until you take the steps to conquer them.  

Fortunately for allergies like oak, you know when it’s coming and when it’s bad by just looking at the shade of yellow on your car (unless you have a yellow car then just use our pollen count tool)!  Oak is an airborne pollen, which means that there are a few simple steps you can do to limit how much contact you have!

1) The first thing you can do is to take your allergy medication BEFORE the day starts. You can already see how miserable this day can make you feel so why not combat it before you start feeling the symptoms? Medicine like antihistamines are the quickest form of relief, but they still take a while before they start kicking in.

2) Make sure you’re changing your clothes and at least washing off your face after being outside for a significant amount time. As we all know, oak pollen is very sticky. It sticks to everything and this includes your skin and clothes. This is makes an excellent excuse to swap into your comfiest shirt when you get home from work, or when you need an extra reason to convince your kids to get out of stinky clothes.

3) Avoid outdoor exercise in the morning. Keep the early exercising inside if you’re worried about pollen affecting your performance. It’s best to save outside activities for the late afternoon and evening when pollen levels are lower.

4) Make sure to keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to pollen. We know how nice it is to open up your windows and the loot spring breeze into your home, but this is a no-no for allergy sufferers. One of the best ways to reduce allergies is by reducing the amount of time spent around the allergens that cause them.

If you find that these steps are not enough to get you past your oak allergies…

5) Visit a local allergy clinic and start immunotherapy through allergy drops or ExACT Immunoplasty℠. Immunotherapy will build up your resistance to allergies and now the yellow goo on your car will only be an annoyance and not a health hazard.

Alyssa Arredondo, MPAS, PA-C

Alyssa Arredondo graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX in 2005 with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies. Prior to graduate school she earned her Bachelor of Science at St. Mary's University. She has done rotations all across the state, but is a native San Antonian, and that's where the majority of her practice has been. After working in family practice for over 10 years, she is passionate about specializing in the allergy and sinus field.