No junior, that’s not Tinkerbell’s pixie dust sprinkled around Austin, it’s POLLEN. Ripe, potent, stay-inside-and-oh-my-god-we-need-a-HEPA-filter tree pollen. The bane of my existence. And with central Texas having such a warm climate, even the winter months are horrid! What’s a traveler to do?
I’ve been a major allergy sufferer since my youth. Basically I registered a 4++ on every skin patch test done by my doctor’s office — except one, I think. I’ll have to dig out the last one and check.
- Dust mites? Oh yeah.
- Animal dander? In spades.
- Mold? Fungus? Yes and yes.
- Tree, grass, and flower pollen? Fuggedaboudit.
(Thank goodness I don’t have any food allergies, at least. Or asthma.)
Before we hit the road, I’d been getting allergy shots every 3 weeks for over a decade to mitigate my seasonal and non-seasonal allergies. That’s in addition to a daily pill, a daily prescription nasal spray, and the occasional prescription eye drops as well. I was the FourSquare mayor of my allergist’s office and think I still am, despite being gone for 6 months.
Yes, several times I tried weaning off the shots, or getting them less frequently. But 3 weeks seemed to be the magical number to keep my eyes open and sinuses clear.
When I gleefully announced that we’d be leaving the area to travel, my longterm allergist was no help. Basically I was told to discontinue the shots; “good luck.”
I think this is rather unfair. Diabetics give themselves insulin shots on a daily basis; why couldn’t I/we be trained to measure and administer allergy shots in the correct dosage once a month?
So without any other recourse, I received my last allergy shot in September of last year. Not much is blooming in Michigan at that time of year except ragweed, which doesn’t bother me as much (silver lining – hah!). So I didn’t see a huge change in my histamine response as long as I’m diligent about the other treatments. Yay!
Zoom Ahead to Today
Here in Austin about 3 weeks ago, we both noticed that we were a little sniffly. And the trailer and car were looking kinda yellow. Then Shawn had a full-blown sinus attack, which blew an entire weekend (hah! no pun intended there) before a daily Sudafed got it under control.
Friends, there’s so much tree/grass/flower pollen now that I got the car washed and within an hour it was completely coated again! Anything left outside will accumulate a coating in an afternoon.
OK, so maybe we need to limit our visits to Austin and the rest of central Texas to winter, and depart before spring. But NO! Mother Nature has a hidden secret weapon to torture allergy sufferers in central Texas even during the winter months: cedar pollen, which I was alerted to by a local friend on Facebook.
Look what came up when I started a search. Austin is the very first most-searched item for cedar fever. This is apparently a widely known thing in the Austin area. EXCEPT FOR STUPID TOURISTS, LIKE ME.
The little light bulb went off. If we stick to our plan to seek the 70-degree nice weather, we’re going to experience an extended spring over the course of several months. This is NOT ideal for two people with severe seasonal allergies and requires some major consideration as to our destinations and timing. OR we are going to end up spending far more time in the desert than I had envisioned.
Tomorrow we hitch up the buggy and leave Texas, headed for Hot Springs, Arkansas. Giddyup!