Weâ€™re coming up on the time of year a lot of people in south Texas and the Hill Country, in particular, dread. No, Iâ€™m not talking about the holidays or what passes for winter in this part of the country.
Iâ€™m talking about mountain cedar season.
If you donâ€™t have mountain cedar allergies where you live, consider yourself lucky. Â Mountain cedar season typically starts somewhere around mid-December and goes until the end of February. According to allergists, mountain cedar affects about 30% of the people in the San Antonio area. That means sniffling, sneezing, weakness and a general cloudy feeling for weeks on end.
How bad does mountain cedar season get here? We saw cedar counts hit close to the 20,000 mark last year. Thatâ€™s insanely high, in case allergy counts arenâ€™t your regular cup of tea.
Turns out, a couple of the best things you can do to fight mountain cedar allergies actually have to do with your homeâ€™s air conditioning and heating system.
First, make sure and regularly change your air filters. We like to explain your system trying to receive air through a dirty filter is like trying to drink a milkshake through a twisted straw. It simply isnâ€™t going to happen. So, in general, a dirty air filter is bad news for your AC and heating system. But when you add allergies to the equation, it gets really bad. Thereâ€™s a reason you have a filter in place â€“ to catch contaminants from being in the air you breathe. So you donâ€™t want the air trying to pass through a filter full of things that can cause problems for your health. If you have allergies, allergists recommend changing your air filter every two weeks during the peak allergy season of whatever you suffer from. Also, pay a few extra dollars for the high-quality air filters. Filters are rated on a MERV setting. A MERV rating of 9-12 is typically the highest rating youâ€™ll find for home use. Youâ€™ll pay a bit more, but your nose, head and lungs will thank you.
Additionally, a UV light system for your HVAC equipment may be a wise investment if you suffer from allergies. These purification lights, as theyâ€™re called, are installed by your local air conditioning and heating company inside your ductwork â€“ so they attack the contaminants in the air before the air is delivered to the rooms in your home. UV lights like APCO or Guardian Air, just to name a few, kill up to 99% of the bad stuff floating around in your air, and they typically sell for a couple hundred dollars.
Nobody likes feeling miserable â€“ especially when it means feeling miserable for several weeks on end. So if the allergy medicine youâ€™re currently taking isnâ€™t working out the way you hopedÂ it would, or you donâ€™t want to be put on another batch of medication, try these methods at home to fight your allergies. It sure beats keeping a box of Kleenex handy for the entire winter.