Southeast Texas puts on its Sunday best for spring; flowers bloom, birds sing and the sun comes out in full force. Our region is lucky to enjoy summer temperatures and activities well before most of the country, but that comes at a price. All our early blooming plants means we get an early burst of pollen in the air leaving a lot of Texans out of commission. In fact, allergies or sinus infections are the most common health concerns during the springtime.
The two other most common ailments are tick borne diseases and injuries. After being cooped up after a damp, chilly winter, it’s easy to forget some basic tips to keep you safe this season.
Allergies are a catch all term for an allergic reaction to pollen that is a common irritant. The symptoms include:
- Red, itchy eyes
For people who are very sensitive to pollen the symptoms can become intense and extremely uncomfortable. If left untreated, allergies can lead to sinus infections.
If allergies become severe or go untreated they can lead to sinus infections. The best way to prevent this is to stock up early on over the counter treatments. If you experience allergic reactions annually, it’s wise to keep a supply of the most effective medications for you on hand.
Pollen can collect on almost any surface. Cars, windows, clothing and even on your skin, all catch whatever is floating through the air so it’s best to change clothes and shower after spending long periods outside.
Spring cleaning can be more than a chore, it can be downright dangerous. Some of the most common injuries sustained outside during the spring are during simple chores like gardening, mowing the lawn or moving heavy boxes if the person isn’t in good physical shape. Back injuries are extremely common after spending a long winter bundled up on the couch watching Netflix.
The best way to avoid these injuries is to just utilize common sense. When moving heavy objects, lift with your knees and ask for help.
Take breaks during yard work and stay hydrated. Southeast Texas heats up quickly and getting dehydrated is easy when practicing manual labor.
Tick Borne Diseases
Tick borne diseases are the most dangerous of these three topics, but they are also fairly easily avoided if you follow some simple tips we’ll discuss later.
Lyme disease is the most common disease people are infected with by ticks. It is a bacterial infection and starts with a dark red, circular rash around the bitten area. This disease can affect the heart, the joints and the nervous system so it must be treated as soon as possible before there are long lasting repercussions. Other diseases, not as common but just as dangerous are:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever is unique in that it can be transmitted by just crushing a tick between your fingers. The symptoms are a high fever, chills, muscle aches and a rash. Like Lyme Disease, prompt treatment is a necessity and neglecting this can lead to death.
- Human granulocytic anaplasmosis
- Tularemia can be transmitted by infected ticks, but also by contact with the blood or meat of infected animals. In this region, wild rabbits are the most commonly infected, so it is important to thoroughly cook any wild caught game. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat, and a large sore where the person was bitten.
Tick Borne Diseases Prevention
Ticks make their home in bushes, trees and tall grass. When hiking or hunting, it’s important to wear long sleeves and long pants to prevent exposure.
Ticks are attracted to warm, hidden areas so when checking for ticks, don’t neglect areas like the underarms and groin. Keep clear of wild animals, check pets often and always remember that prevention is the best medicine.
By following these simple steps, everyone should have a safe and healthy spring.