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Grass pollen at its highest levels in a decade

Spring allergy season is in full bloom. While oak pollen is usually blamed for those annoying symptoms, another pollen might be to blame. (CBS Austin)

Spring allergy season is in full bloom. While oak pollen is usually blamed for those annoying symptoms, another pollen might be to blame.

Grass pollen is at its highest levels in a decade in Central Texas, according to allergist, Dr. Bill Howland.

“We had that 3 inches of rain in March, and that seems to have really gotten the grasses growing,” said Dr. Howland of the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin.

Dr. Howland said 17-20 varieties of grass in Central Texas release pollen into the air.

“People are pretty good at identifying pollen allergy, but they can’t tell exactly which pollen it is,” said Dr. Howland. “So, when the oak pollen is falling, they don’t know the grass pollen is coming out at same time.”

Dr. Howland said the overlap in pollen, makes people’s allergies even worse.

“If your exposed to oak pollen and get allergic inflammation from it, and then you are exposed to grass, you have an increased reaction to it, “said Dr. Howland.

Once your sinuses are irritated, you may also react more to things that don’t typically bother you, like pet dander or household allergens, according to Dr. Howland.

Dr. Howland suggests using a steroid nasal spray and eye drops for relief. He also advises allergy sufferers to wear an allergy mask while doing yard work or playing outdoors.

Once inside, rinse your eyes and nose with saline and take a shower.

According to Dr. Howland, Central Texas has one of the longest pollen seasons in the country, from March to November. There is usually some relief during the hot months of summer.

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