Doctors see more patients from Tuesday's dust storm

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Although it's normal for West Texas, many were blown away by the enormous dust storm that rolled through on Tuesday. Doctors said they're seeing more patients this week because of it.

"It surprised me when I first saw it," said Medical Center Hospital Family Practice Referral Clerk Alma Saldago. "Today I'm paying the price. I can't breathe, my nose is stuffed up, my sinuses are going crazy.

Saldago doesn't usually get allergies. But with the passing dust storm, her symptoms lingered.

"It started last night with my throat itchy and this morning with my eyes watery and my nose stuffed up, my nose runny," she said.
The spring wave of allergy season typically begins during this time of year. The cold front passing through also brought high winds that carried not just dust, but pollen in there, too.

"There's two reasons here in West Texas, one is the change with leaves coming out of the trees and buds and pollen start falling. Two, we have wind in West Texas," said Dr. David Davison. "Some people who have never had allergies before can all of a sudden get it."

Dr. Davison said some people can feel affected right away while others exposed to the allergens longer will start feeling symptoms later. For Saldago, she hadn't been outside for more than a couple of minutes before she started feeling symptoms the next day. Symptoms like watery eyes, itching, sinus problems, congestion, and coughing.

"Just getting into my car, walking into my car, walking inside the house, that's the only time but now I could smell the dirt and everything in the air," said Saldago.

If you feel any of these symptoms, doctors say the best medicines are some you can get over the counter. You can take antihistamines like Claritin, Zyrtec, or a nasal spray like Flonase, to prevent those symptoms from springing up.

Allergy season is expected to last until late May but could settle down in June.

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