Moving to Houston should be fun and exciting, a chance to enjoy our city’s amazing culture and opportunities. Sadly, some people who are new to Houston also experience a downside: worsening allergy symptoms or hay fever symptoms coming up for the first time.

Houston is number 32 on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s list of the 100 Worst U.S. Cities for People with Allergies. The causes are some of the very things that attract people to this part of the country: warm weather, lush plant life, and the moist, humid air that helps those beautiful plants thrive. If you’ve developed sniffles, sneezes, congestion, or sinus pain, allergies may very well be to blame, but you may still be able to live a happy and healthy life here in Houston. These tips can help you manage your symptoms and feel better in your new home:

Allergies can develop at any age, and develop over time, so your move to Houston may not be the whole cause.

As this post from The Atlantic’s CityLab blog explains, it’s not uncommon for people to develop new allergy symptoms soon after moving to a new city, but it’s unlikely that this allergy is entirely new. It usually takes two to five years between first coming into contact with an allergen and becoming so sensitized to it that it causes allergy symptoms. It could be that Houston’s warm, moist climate has grown more of what you were already allergic to (particularly if you’re allergic to molds or plants that love this climate). It could be that you’ve been building up sensitivity for a few years, and coincidentally had your first symptoms right after your move. There’s also a chance that your symptoms are due not to allergies, but to something else, entirely.

See an allergy specialist and find out for sure what you’re allergic to — and whether allergies are the real culprits.

To be sure what’s the best way to manage your symptoms, you’ll need to know for sure what’s bothering you. An allergy specialist can run a blood test or a skin test to find out what type of allergen affects you — such as molds, grasses, dust, various types of trees, and various types of pollens. They can also rule out causes other than allergies, which may mean that a different course of treatment is best for you. For example:

  • Air pollution can cause respiratory symptoms in sensitive people, but these are not quite the same as allergic reactions.
  • A viral infection like the common cold or a similar illness may be your problem. In this case, some allergy treatments will not help you, and your symptoms should go away on their own within seven to ten days, once your body fights off the virus.
  • A bacterial infection may be the culprit, too. Again, your body might fight this off on its own within a week or two, but if you’ve had symptoms for longer, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Work with your allergist to choose the right medication and/or immunotherapy for you.

Once you know just what’s causing your symptoms, you and your doctor can choose the best treatment. You may choose antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, or decongestants to bring you immediate relief. Immunotherapy, which consists of either injections or drops placed under the tongue, may also train your immune system to tolerate your allergens without causing symptoms any more. Immunotherapy takes months or years to become fully effective, so you and your doctor will probably choose a combination of treatments in the meantime.

Care for your Houston apartment to minimize allergens.

Once you know what your particular allergy triggers are, you can minimize those allergens in your new home. Check out our previous post, Control Seasonal Allergies in Your Houston Apartment, for advice on choosing, furnishing, and cleaning your apartment to minimize your specific allergens.

We hope you can stay happy and healthy in Houston!

As this post from the Lifescript health Web site explains, moving to escape allergy symptoms is rarely a permanent solution. Besides, there are many things you can do to control your allergy symptoms from right here, so you can enjoy all of the opportunities that made you choose to move to Houston in the first place.