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  • Dr. Sherry Barnett

Why do I always get sick when the weather changes?

I get asked all the time “Why do I always get sick when the weather changes?” and I’m here to tell you the reasons. Once you know you can better prepare and avoid being miserable. Don’t suffer- take control of your allergies!

#1 When summer shifts to fall, the ragweed & cedar elm pollen counts are peaking, typically in late September and early October. This also coincides with when the temperature finally starts to cool off in North Texas.

#2 We tend to get more rain at the transitions to fall and to spring which lead to spikes in the mold counts. This causes problems for folks with mold allergies.

#3 October/November are when the cold and flu season starts to pick up and many people associate the cooler weather with “getting sick”.

#4 In Texas we always have to do it bigger and better so there is good ol’ Mountain Cedar in the winter. The funny thing about cedar pollinating is that it happens from late December through late February mostly on warm, windy sunny days where everyone goes outside for a change. Since this is another time that the “weather changes” from cold and dreary to warm and sunny, people associate the weather with getting sick when it is more likely, at least for allergy sufferers, to be due to cedar pollen counts being sky high.

#5 “Weather changes” can cause people who don’t even have allergies to have nasal symptoms because colder, drier weather and forced heat inside the home dry out lining of the respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, lower airways). This can make you more susceptible to getting infections

So how can you prepare? If you always have issues at the changes in the seasons I can assure you the plants are not going to change their pollination patterns so these are the times you need to be very diligent in taking allergy medications and/or using saline nasal irrigations routinely. Consider using a saline gel spray or even putting Vaseline or Coconut oil on a Q tip inside your nostrils at bedtime to prevent dryness and nosebleeds. While it is not a magic bullet, the usual advice on hand-washing, avoiding people who are sick when possible, getting adequate sleep and eating healthy whole foods also applies. If your overall goal is to have minimal seasonal symptoms, take as little medication as possible and be able to go outside without suffering, then the best long-term solution is immunotherapy or allergy shots to the things in the air you are allergic to.


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