Allergy Season Strikes North Texas Early

Woman with allergies
Woman with allergies | Image by Baylor Scott & White Health

Allergy sufferers living in Dallas may want to check their supplies of tissues and antihistamines — the spring allergy season is here.

Data from the National Phenology Network shows that spring has arrived in the Midwest, with North Texas seeing the seasonal change between 4 to 7 days earlier than the long-term average. This, coupled with a warm winter, has given plants and trees longer bloom times, resulting in higher pollen counts.

“Pollen seasons are starting earlier and getting worse with more pollen in the air,” explained William Anderegg, an associate professor at the University of Utah who recently found that higher temperatures have resulted in a 21% increase in pollen between 1990 and 2018, per CBS News Texas.

While some allergy sufferers might try and avoid spending too much time outdoors when pollen levels are high, experts warn that may not be enough.

“Understand that when you go outside and you breathe in that air, you’re exposed to the pollen. So the longer it stays on your body, in your nose and your eyes and your sinuses, the more likely you’re going to react and feel bad from them,” said Dr. Neil Parikh, allergist and immunologist with Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group, per CBS.

Showering and changing clothes after spending time outside can help remove the pollen, according to The Mayo Clinic. Overall, windy days and early mornings are the worst for exposure to allergens. Going outside after rain is the best time to go out because the pollen is cleared out.

While it might be a good idea to take some medication on days predicted to have a high pollen count as a preventative measure, it is important to note that antihistamines have some side effects. As covered previously in The Dallas Express, antihistamines can make a person sleepy and may interact with other medications, alcohol, or even illicit drugs such as opioids, producing fatal effects.

The good news for allergy sufferers is that Dallas slipped in this year’s ranking of the worst cities to live for those with seasonal allergies.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) ranked Dallas as the fourth most challenging place to live in with pollen allergies in 2024. As covered by The Dallas Express, last year the city ranked second, just one spot below Wichita, Kansas, which has kept its spot at No.1 this year. Greenville, South Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia slipped ahead of Dallas this time around.

AAFA’s ranking is determined by pollen scores for tree, grass, and weed pollen, allergy over-the-counter medication use, and the number of allergy specialists. On a 100-point scale, Dallas scored 87.21 points this year, with pollen ranked worse than average and residents’ medication use being above average.

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