Allergy Season Off to Early Start in Houston

Whether you're at home or school, there's a good chance someone nearby sounds a little like this.

*Sounds of people sneezing*

Tests show pollen counts this week are extremely high. For people with allergies, that means the misery may begin early this year.  Dr. David Engler of the Houston Allergy Clinic says only about 20 percent of the population is actually allergic to pollen.

"Well, pollen is pretty harmless, but the problem is that we've been living in such a clean environment for the past two hundred years, that our immunize systems are used to fighting things off, and so our immunize systems are having false alarms and it's recognizing pollen as some sort of germ."

Engler says when the human body feels the pollen invading its territory, it springs into action to try and get rid of it.

"The body tries to expel this germ from itself. Sneezing it out would force a germ out, having a runny nose would allow you to drip the stuff out, having a very stuffy nose would prevent the inhalation into the lungs and itching would get you to rub it so that you'd move it out of the way."

Andrea Blitzer lives in Houston but grew up in South Africa. She's been taking shots for several years to help with her allergies.

"I felt slightly dizzy, like you know, like when your ears are blocked when you've been swimming and you go on a plane and you've landed and your ears are kind of blocked."

Blitzer's biggest problem is dust,  but the shots help her body with pollen as well.

"If I'm outside a lot I do feel that kind of itchy eyes, itchy throat feeling, so I know that I'm not completely immune from it."

Dr. Engler says there a number of ways to deal with  your allergies including medication.

"Number one, you can avoid what you're allergic to. Remember pollen counts are higher between five and ten in the morning than they are at five and ten at night, so think about enjoying outdoor activities in the evening."

Andrea Blitzer says the shots have been working for her, and she's hoping soon, she won't need them at all. 

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