LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- If you've been coughing and sneezing lately it may not be the flu.It could actually be allergies. Ear Nose and Throat doctors say Cedar trees could be making you sick.
They are common in Southwest, Oklahoma, but they are causing problems for people who have allergies. Doctors have seen an increase in patients coming in with all sorts of symptoms and finding out they are allergic to them. Between December and February the trees like to blossom and release pollen in the air.
"The classic symptoms of allergies are sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose sometimes a sore throat sometimes a non productive cough. There are patients who just have a cough and it wont go away they don't have sneezing, itch eyes, runny nose," said Doctor Tim Kaiser.
Kaiser said cedar trees bloom anytime there is warm weather even if it's just for a day or two and the wind can pull the pollen off the trees.
"Well when the winds blow especially from Texas it's going to bloom earlier in Texas because it's warmer down there when the south wind blows the pollen up here it can blow a long ways," said Kaiser.
While the rain can help, Doctor Kaiser said it can also cause problems.
"Yes it will help for the first two or three days to wash the air and clean it but the rain is going to do another thing which is going to tell the cedar trees it's time to bloom again so shortly after the rain it will get worse," said Kaiser.
Doctors said there are several home remedies and over the counter medicines that you can use to treat these allergies. One is simply keeping your hands and fingers out of your face.
"Just washing your face helps a lot you can use saline nasal rinses to rinse the antigen and pollen out of your nose. You can use over the counter nasal sprays to reduce your sensitivity so it doesn't respond or react to strongly," said Kaiser.
If those remedies don't work doctors also offer immunotherapy. It helps your body fight off things you are sensitive too by exposing you to the antigen through a drop given under the tongue or through an injection.