HOUSTON (March 26, 2015)

Spring is here and so is allergy season.

Higher-than-normal rainfall has helped keep allergy season at bay in the Greater Houston area thus far but weather services are predicting increased tree pollen counts this week, which will likely bring increased allergy symptoms.

“Typically, this is the time of year where we start to see more patients who come to us with unmanageable or hard-to-manage allergy symptoms,” said Saffana N. Hassan, MD, an allergist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital. “The pollen counts are high for trees and some grasses in the spring and many people have a difficult time indoors and especially outdoors.”

Oftentimes, the symptoms of allergies can be nearly identical to the signs of a cold or even the flu. Congestion, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat can all be signs of allergies but they are also symptoms of the common cold. One sure way to tell the difference between the common cold and allergies is that a cold will often occur with a mild fever or achiness. Allergies will not cause body aches or fever.

Long-time allergy sufferers often know the symptoms and know what time of year to expect them. Many times allergies can be easily managed with over-the-counter medication. But occasionally the effects of allergies can become more frequent and even more severe to the point it becomes necessary to see an allergist.

“When your quality of life is affected, it’s time to see an expert,” Dr. Hassan said. “This is especially true for people who aren't getting enough sleep or getting enough good sleep because of their allergies.”

Patients having trouble with allergies can go online to schedule an appointment with an allergist on our website, or meet with an affiliated physician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Northwest, located at the Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital campus in Medical Plaza 3 at 1801 North Loop West, Ste. 30, Houston, TX 77008 on the 610 service road just before Ella Blvd. or by calling 713-802-9781.