Tablet Local

It’s blooming spring: Allergies are causing many in DFW to suffer

Ah, springtime in Texas.

It’s the time of year when the temperature warms up, everybody gets outdoors, and allergy sufferers start sneezing.

For many Dallas-Fort Worth residents who are feeling miserable this week, it won’t improve anytime soon. Allergists say the spring season will last until the baking heat of summer arrives.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Fort Worth allergist John Fling. “I think it will be around until at least the first week of June.”

For some, it is a never-ending cycle of suffering. Fall allergies cause problems, followed by mountain cedar during the winter, then springtime arrives.

“The last week has seen the arrival of the spring trees and grass pollens with the warmer weather and windy conditions,” said Fort Worth allergist James Haden. “ Many patients who were just getting over their cedar symptoms are now being hit by those pollens. It's all part of the year-round pollen season of North Texas.”

Neither allergist said this is an extraordinarily bad season — yet — but that doesn’t lessen the problem for those who susceptible to spring allergies.

In Friday’s DFW pollen count, grass, maple, oak and mulberry were all classified as high.

For most, a regimen of antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may help. But nasal sprays must be used before the onset of allergy symptoms to be effective.

Over-the counter medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra may work for many, but some will need to see a doctor and undergo allergy testing. Those that are most sensitive to allergies may need regular allergy shots.

One new development is a pill that could replace shots for some allergy sufferers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was approving the use of allergy pills on Wednesday, which are placed under the tongue. The bad news is they will only work for those who suffer from grass allergies.

“Very few people just have an allergy to grass,” Fling said. “For someone with a grass allergy, it would be great, but if you have other allergies, you’re still going to have to treat them.”

Haden said it’s still too early to say if the pill will have much effect.

“If a patient has only grass pollen allergy, the pill would be a viable option and it may be useful as an adjunctive treatment for medications or allergy shots — time will tell,” Haden said.