Allergy season kicks off in Brazos Valley, bringing suffering for some

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- The new year marks an unwelcome milestone for many in the Brazos Valley; the start of allergy season.

While the calendar may say January and it's officially winter, cedar pollen is the first to bring problems in our area.

That and other common allergens are having a huge impact on people living here in the Brazos Valley.

Christi Bashiom of Anderson is one of those allergy sufferers.

"Cedar is a big thing right now," Bashiom said. "Definitely sneezing, itchy watery eyes, itchy ears, nose all that."

Bashiom is trying to get her allergies under control. Monday morning
she visited her allergy doctor, working on a more aggressive treatment plan.

"My symptoms have actually seemed to be getting worse throughout the year so I just came into the doctor to get tested and start my allergy shots back," Bashiom said.

“What’s really interesting is this is the middle of the wintertime and yet we’ve already begun our spring allergy season so cedar trees start the pattern," said Dr. Keith Paull of the Paull Allergy & Asthma Clinic.

"We see elm trees after that. The remainder of the spring season begins usually about the beginning of March and from there we get into grass season coming up into April and May," Dr. Paull said. "And that really is what makes Texas such a significant allergy environment."

Dr. Paull said our central location in the United States makes the Brazos Valley, the "Allergy Valley."

"This is one of the worst places that you can be in the United States. There are several reasons. Gulf Coast tends to have high humidity so we grow dust mites very effectively and mold pollen, mold counts are usually quite high," Dr. Paull said.

"We’re halfway between the West Coast and the East Coast so things from the west can grow here and things from the east can grow here. We have a relatively temperate climate so you can get long pollen seasons for many of these things," Dr. Paull said.

Some of the symptoms for allergies can overlap with those of a cold or flu. We asked when you should see a doctor.

"There's a lot of over-the-counter medications available these days for folks with allergies. People can get good antihistamines or nasal sprays just from the pharmacy. If that's not doing the job then probably a primary care visit would be needed," said Dr. Paull. "And if you're having continued symptoms or symptoms that aren't responding well to treatment that's the point where an allergist can help," Dr. Paull explained.

"Yes I need some relief for sure," said Bashioum.

Cedar fever is especially high right now in Austin.

Dr. Paull tells us our cedar levels tend to be more moderate here but it picks up as you head west.