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With the tree pollen marching through the wind and sporadic weather changes launching a full-fledged offensive on your sinuses, it’s a wonder how anyone can get relief from the seasonal allergy onslaught in Houston.

True allergies affect about 30 percent of the population, but Houston’s wildly varying weather conditions and air quality can cause people without allergies to suffer runny noses, drainage and congestion.

Local outdoor allergens include pollen from grass, oak and ragweed, while the Bayou City’s high humidity and warm weather promote elevated mold and dust mite levels.

Start by having an evaluation and allergy testing with a board-certified allergist. Testing can help determine whether pollen, changing weather or another environmental factor is the source of the symptoms.

The exams usually involve a skin or blood test to find out what substance, or allergen, triggers the allergic response. Skin tests are usually performed because they are rapid, reliable and generally less expensive than other tests. If diagnosed, treatment will vary depending on the cause and may include allergy shots for those who don’t respond to medication.

Allergists consider allergen avoidance to be the front line of protection. Cats and dogs may be hard to resist, but a pet-free home is best for anyone allergic to animal dander.

However, the most strategic defense for those seeking freedom from Houston allergy attacks is to see a qualified allergist, and get tested.