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Outdoor Allergies

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) affects more than 35 million Americans.

  • What is it
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Pollen and Mold Levels
  • Effects of Weather and Location

Outdoor Allergies

What is it

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) affects more than 35 million Americans. If you suffer from it, you may experience sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat, eyes or ears. These allergic reactions are most commonly caused by pollen and mold spores in the air outside, which start a chain reaction in your immune system.

Outdoor Allergies

Pollen

Pollen are tiny cells needed to fertilize plants. Pollen from plants with colorful flowers, like roses, usually does not cause allergies. These plants rely on insects to transport the pollen for fertilization. On the other hand, many plants have flowers which produce light, dry pollen that are easily spread by wind. These culprits cause allergy symptoms.

Each plant has a period of pollination that does not vary much from year to year. However, the weather can affect the amount of pollen in the air at any time. The pollinating season starts later in the spring the further north one goes. In most climates, the entire pollen season lasts from February or March through October. In warmer places, pollination can be year-round.  In Austin, Mountain Cedar, which is highly allergenic, pollinates late October through early March.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often caused by tree pollen in the early spring. During the late spring and early summer, grasses often cause symptoms. Late summer and fall hay fever is caused by weeds.

Outdoor Allergies

Mold

Molds are tiny fungi related to mushrooms but without stems, roots or leaves. Their spores float in the air like pollen. Molds can be found almost anywhere, including soil, plants and rotting wood. Outdoor mold spores begin to increase as temperatures rise in the spring and reach their peak in July in warmer states and October in the colder states and year-round in the South and on the West Coast.

Outdoor Allergies

Pollen and Mold Levels

Pollen and mold counts measure the amount of allergens present in the air.

The National Allergy BureauTM (NABTM) is the nation’s only pollen and mold counting network certified by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). As a free service to the public, the NAB compiles pollen and mold levels from certified stations across the nation and then publishes a rating of very high, high, moderate, or low concentration.

Outdoor Allergies

Effects of Weather and Location

The relationship between pollen and mold levels and your symptoms can be complex. Your symptoms may be affected by recent contact with other allergens, the amount of pollen exposure and your sensitivity to pollen and mold.

Allergy symptoms are often less prominent on rainy, cloudy or windless days because pollen does not move around during these conditions. Pollen tends to travel more with hot, dry and windy weather, which can increase your allergy symptoms.

Some people think that moving to another area of the country may help to lessen their symptoms. However, many pollen (especially grasses) and molds are common to most plant zones in the United States, so moving to escape your allergies is not recommended. Also, because your allergy problem begins in your genes, you are likely to find new allergens to react to in new environments.

There are also simple steps you can take to limit your exposure to the pollen or molds that cause your symptoms.

  • Keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.
  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen or mold levels are reported to be high. Wear a pollen mask if long periods of exposure are unavoidable.
  • Don’t mow lawns or rake leaves because it stirs up pollen and molds. Also avoid hanging sheets or clothes outside to dry.
  • Consider taking a vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or sea. When traveling by car, keep your windows closed.

Most important, be sure to take any medications prescribed by your allergist regularly, in the recommended dosage.

Indoor Allergies
Eye Allergies
Food Allergies
Anaphylaxis
Children’s Allergies
Drug Allergies
Outdoor Allergies
Skin Allergies
General Allergies

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Stephanie H.

“My whole family goes to Dr. Mery.  He has been a major factor in our family’s health and well-being.  Dr. Mery is compassionate and understanding.  He is determined to help those who come to see him and truly cares for his patients.”

Susan D.

“Hill Country Allergy has been a very good experience for me these last few weeks. A great team has been providing me with a thorough job of evaluating my allergy needs and implementing a specific plan to reach my specific goal of setting my allergies under control. All staff is efficient, courteous, and very knowledgeable of my specific concerns. I am very pleased with my current service.”

Sandra B.

“The staff at Hill Country Allergy & Asthma is nothing short of amazing. They greet you with a smile and they actually remember my name; you are not just another face. They are patient and take the time to explain things even if you ask them the same questions every other time you are there. The technicians providing the shots are extremely careful and service is usually quick due to the check in system they utilize. They are well organized, with excellent customer service.”

Ditrell B.

“Whenever Julie is the one who gives me my shot, I almost look forward to getting the shot. Her sunny disposition brightens my day. I did say that it almost makes me want to get a shot!”

Bob B.

“I have been very pleased with the great care I have received from Dr. Mery, as well as his entire staff. They are all great!”

Cindy M.

“I look forward to getting my allergy shots every month. The office staff is so friendly and professional. It is a very nice and relaxed atmosphere too.”

Maria B.

“Dr. Mery saved me! I struggled for months with a skin reaction that three other doctors were unable to get under control.  It was clear from the onset that Dr. Mery is truly invested in his patients as he spent so much time with me trying to understand my situation and helped me tremendously with my condition.  Dr. Mery and his staff genuinely care for their patients!”

Krista H.

“My son saw Dr. Mery years ago for his bad allergies.  He was tested, started shots and has been on shots for a couple of years now.  We cannot begin to express our gratitude to HCAA for helping our family.  Our son is completely different kid – he can now play on sports teams and enjoy playing outside with his buddies!  THANK YOU DR. MERY!”

Sandy H.