Butterflies, bees, humming birds and every possible wildflower makes its debut in and around McCulloch County in April. Spring is the most beautiful time of the year in Central Texas.
Remember the old song “April Showers?” Well, around our parts, that often means a continual shower of yellow oak pollen, some of which gets mercifully mitigated by our springtime rainstorms.
We’re noted for our beautiful big oak trees, some of which have lived here for hundreds of years. Many varieties of oaks keep their green leaves all winter long. They provide expansive shade through our very hot summers and produce abundant plump acorns in the fall that feed our wildlife. Unfortunately, in the springtime, some of our more prolific varieties also produce a great deal of yellow pollen to start their cycle all over again.
We talked in detail about treating allergies and asthma last May and explained the difference between various antihistamines, decongestants and mucus thinners. If you’re an allergy-sufferer, that blog is worth a re-read. But let’s talk specifically about oak pollen, to which most people in and around Brady find ranks high on their allergy list.
The tell-tale powdery yellow pollen gets everywhere. No wonder it finds its way to our tender noses and delicate eyes. It’s most noticeable on our vehicles.
With our strong spring winds, the pollen can travel up to 100 miles, so there’s almost no escaping it.
Avoiding The Pollen
If oak pollen is getting to you, here are a few preventive tricks to help minimize the effects:
- Wash (or at least rinse) vehicles often that get covered in pollen
- Rinse your hands, face and eyes more often in clear water
- Don’t rub your eyes when they get irritated; it makes it worse
- Keep windows closed when the pollen drifts get heavy
- Gently spray water on garden plants daily to wash down undesirable pollen
- Vacuum indoors often using bags featuring allergen filtration
- Shake and wash pollen-laden clothes frequently
- “Dust” your pets off frequently (they love it!)
There are a number of relatively new over-the-counter remedies you can use if pollen and grass allergies strike you. Two of which are nasal sprays that were formerly available by prescription only. They are Flonase and Nasacort.
These nasal sprays are both corticosteroids that help to prevent nasal allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose and itchy or watery eyes caused by seasonal or year-round allergies.
Flonase and nasacort both have once a day dosing and they both come in an adult or children’s dosed bottle. They are also safe in the sense that either can be combined with many other over the counter medicines also used to treat allergies without the risk of duplicating ingredients or drug-drug interactions. With that being said, it is still very important to talk to your doctor before starting either Flonase or Nasacort. We can also help by going over any other medications you’re taking just to be sure there are no conflicts.
And when it’s all over, put up that hammock again, under the oaks, kick back, and enjoy our lovely springtime weather.