Many allergy sufferers in southeast Texas have been feeling the impact of pollen season over the past few weeks. You can blame that on this year’s late summer drought paired with the annual increase in pollen seen this time of year. And unfortunately, the climate here in southeast Texas is just ripe for pollen.

With this in mind, reporters spoke to Dr. Duyen Nguyen on Monday. She is an allergy and immunology doctor with Memorial Hermann and ENT Physicians in Houston.

Dr. Nguyen specifically mentioned how ragweed is a special pollen type because it can outlast drought and potentially linger into the fall months. It’s also one of the most allergenic pollens, meaning many people are sensitive to it.

“Some patients have experience with ragweed season and they did come in and mention that they have significant symptoms of eye itchiness, runny nose and congestion and post nasal drip,” Dr. Nguyen said.

To mitigate the impacts of pollen, she recommends taking antihistamines two hours before going outside, then changing clothes and rinsing your nose once you come back in.

It’s worth mentioning how climate change could impact the length of pollen season here in Houston.

Climate Central even show how the growing season, thus pollen season, has increased by 15 to 20 days across the state of Texas since 1970. And with the late onset of ragweed this year thanks to the drought, Dr. Nguyen says that pollen season could linger into the cooler months.

She encourages her patients to monitor symptoms heading into the cooler months, as it can be difficult to tell the difference between allergy symptoms and other illnesses.

“Allergies tend to cause more itchiness of eyes and throat and nose. But the immune responses are pretty similar. Fever is more infectious process, and itchiness is more of an allergy,” Dr. Nguyen said.

And if your allergy symptoms persist or get worse, or you’re unsure what illness they could be, it’s time to see a physician.

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