Sniffling, sneezing, coughing…repeat. In other parts of the country, you have a typical “allergy season” but in Texas, that season is all year round.
Why? Well, it is our weather.
On a windy day, pollen will go everywhere, including your nose. This is not good news for some because April is our windiest month of the year in Texas.
So if you are an allergy suffer, limit your time outside and/or stock up on allergy medicine for the next month.
You may also notice a yellow film on your car. That is oak pollen raining down from the sprouting trees and it peaks in the middle of April.
What about extreme heat and dry weather? There’s some good news in the middle of the summer. 100-degree temperatures will eventually kill the grass and stop it from pollinating, but it's not so good news when you talk about fire danger.
Cold weather does not do much for our allergens in Texas. Mountain Cedar is the most notorious one and it thrives in the winter months. Cold has to be so severe to be inhospitable to plant life before it helps.
When you think of a typical “allergy season” in other parts of the United States, it’s usually during humid and warm weather. This is the same for Texas because when we have warm and humid days, mold spores will release into the atmosphere. In addition, dust mites need a humid environment to survive and multiply.
Personally, mold is my biggest allergy trigger and because of this, I had a bunch of questions. Thankfully, my allergist, Dr. Taylor Shepard, could give me some answers.
Mold doesn't die in dry weather, but it doesn't cause as much trouble. Austin usually retains enough humidity to keep mold thriving. That is why our mold count is usually substantial. Dry climates have less of a problem with mold. However, humans mess that up when we water everything or have water leaks in our houses.
The management of mold is to manage your environment. Keep moisture out of your house (dehumidifier installed on the central HVAC). Do not let any vegetative debris accumulate around your house (leaf piles, woodpiles, etc.) In the end, mold is a survivor. Its spores get in the air and you can react to them.
Spores can survive in all kinds of weather; they just wait for the right time to germinate. Sometimes we will see increase mold counts when we finally get a good rain after a hot, dry summer. That's when the spore finds the "right time".
When I moved to Texas 10 years ago, several people told me that Austin was the Allergy Capital of the World. Is it? Dr. Shepard addressed this with a little joke.
Austin is not the allergy capital of the world. This may be unfortunate for some people who desire to be the best or for blog writers who need a catchy headline. This question is certainly a matter of opinion, because how does one measure such a thing?
What if you need a break from Texas allergies? Dr. Shepard said planning a trip to a dry and cold place, like Colorado, is perfect but also the dry deserts of Arizona could be great as well!