How to Prepare for the Texas Pollen Season
We all love living in Texas, but that love is constantly getting tested by the seasonal allergies here. From spring pollen and summer grass to fall ragweed and winter cedar, it can be challenging for Texans to remain feeling their best all year long. Not to mention the dust and molds that are constantly present in the air -- the Texas allergies are something we have to deal with each year. Is it worth it to live in the most beautiful state? Definitely. Seasonal allergies affect many Texans, but you can get ahead of the allergens by knowing what’s coming and how to prepare yourself and your home.
The Texas Allergy Seasons
The Texas spring pollen season can be a rough one, but so can the allergies that come with each season. Let’s see why Texas allergy seasons can be so bad.
Ahh, springtime; nature’s returning from the dead of winter, flowers start blooming, and trees begin budding; it would be a wonderful sight except for one thing: allergies. Spring is the most common time for allergens to pop up, and that’s never more true than when you’re living in Texas. You’re probably familiar with all that yellow stuff sticking to your windows, houses, cars, and basically everything else; you can thank all of our oak trees for that problem. Cottonwood, ash, pecan, and elm trees also produce significant amounts of pollen each spring; it sometimes leaves you wondering if those clouds are a dust storm or a pollen storm; lovely.
Texas summertimes are the best, but what causes our allergies to get so bad? Grass -- it’s everywhere in Texas, and between the breezy summer nights and the buzzing lawnmowers during the daylight hours, there’s always grass pollen floating around. To make matters worse, when we get particularly humid or rainy summers, mold spikes throughout the season. It’s impossible to avoid all of the summertime Texas allergens that are always in the air.
When summer turns to fall in Texas, the grass pollen begins to fade, but another allergen takes its place: ragweed. Ragweed is, unfortunately, quite common, especially in central Texas areas like Austin and Dallas, and it can really ruin your fall mood. This roadside weed spread millions of pollen grains all over the place, even at nighttime! That means that you aren’t even safe from the allergens when you’re enjoying a nice fall night on the patio. Having a relaxing evening outdoors, and your nose starts to run, and your eyes start to itch? You can thank the ragweed.
Related: Get Your Windows Ready for Fall
Especially in Austin, Texas winters are also called cedar season. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you’ve probably heard Texans complain about the cedar fever hitting us hard each winter; the community has something of a deep-rooted rage when it comes to cedar -- the allergy symptoms it produces rival the flu. On sunny, cooler days, the Ashe juniper trees release a ton of pollen, sending clouds of misery throughout the entire area. Cedar pollen is the number one allergy villain in Texas.
Common Texas Allergy Symptoms
Now that you know a little more about the Texas allergy seasons and what triggers these allergies, it’s important to recognize the common symptoms that come with them. Texas seasonal allergies have symptoms similar to a cold or flu; here’s what you can expect:
- Itchy nose, mouth, ears, eyes, and throat
- Coughing and wheezing
- Runny nose
- Red, watery, and swollen eyes
- Aggravated asthma symptoms
Surviving the Allergy Season in Texas
In nature’s defense, it’s not trying to annoy us all year long with the allergens; it just happens. No matter which allergy season it is in Texas, here are some tips to survive.
There are probably a million things you want to get taken care of during your yearly spring cleaning, but let’s see some of the things you can do to help prevent and alleviate the Texas allergies:
- Replace your furnace filters. The Texas sunshine is starting to warm everything up, and you’re likely tempted to throw your windows open to let the fresh spring air in. However, your windows are one of the easiest ways for pollen and allergens to sneak into your home. You’ll probably be turning on your AC soon; your HVAC system can help filter out allergens like pollen and dust that are hiding in your air ducts. It’s best to change the filters at the beginning of the season and then about every 90 days afterward.
- Vacuum, mop, and dust. No one really wants to do these things, but they’re necessary to keep your home free of Texas allergens. Vacuuming and mopping help minimize pollen, dust, and other allergens, but you have to tackle more than just the floor -- allergens can hide everywhere. Focus on higher up areas first, like curtains, blinds, and ceiling fans, and then work your way towards the floor.
Wash often. Things like your bedding, rugs, towels, and curtains that you touch frequently throughout the day can accumulate the allergens you bring in from outside. Washing them frequently can help keep them from spreading, and keep you from suffering from the less-than-fun Texas allergies.
Already dreading spring cleaning? Get in touch with Shine; ask us about our spring cleaning special!
Watch the Local Pollen Reports
Local pollen reports can help you figure out which days will be the worst for your Texas allergens. On days with high pollen counts, it’s probably best to keep your windows and doors closed so that you don’t let it all into your home. Here’s where you can find up-to-date pollen reports for Dallas and Austin.
Window Screen Cleaning
Cleaning your window screens is just as important as cleaning your windows. Pollen, dust, dirt, and loads of other not-so-fun stuff can get stuck in your screens throughout the year. Mold can also grow and accumulate there. To help manage your Texas seasonal allergies, keeping your window screens clean and clear can help you get fresher air inside your home and keep the allergens out.
How do you make sure to get all of the pollen, dust, and other stuff out of your window screens? Schedule a window cleaning with your local Shine team!