Tackle your allergies with these tips

March 25, 2011 4:51:08 PM PDT
Pollen levels are at their peak right now, and if you have sinus problems, you already know it. And people with asthma and allergies are more likely to be facing sinus infections.

"It's a miserable feeling not to be able to smell or taste," said Paul Jones, a sinus sufferer.

All caused by his sinus problems, which got worse when Jones moved back to Houston because all that yellow gunk floating around in the air.

"There are thousands of grains of pollen floating in the air right now in every breath you take. Of course it settles on your car, your patio furniture. That's what you're breathing," ABC13 Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller said.

That pollen caused Jones to need sinus surgery -- twice.

"It's hard for people who doesn't have sinus disease to really appreciate what these patients are blowing out of their nose and suffering from," said Dr. Amber Luong with Memorial Hermann.

Besides using over-the-counter meds, and gargling with warm salt water, she suggests something new.

"You probably heard about irrigating the sinuses or using the neti pot, the saline irrigations, but what we can also do is put medications into that sinus irrigation and so you can put antibiotics or anti-fungals or steroids into that irrigation," Dr. Luong said.

And your sinus problems could be worse.

"As bad as it looks this year, that yellow sludge has been thicker in years past. The peak count so far this season (is) four times lower than last season and lower than any time in the past four years," ABC13 Meteorologist Travis Herzog said.

But there is hope. Jones can finally breathe through his nose again.

"I haven't felt this good in years, feel like a new man; feel like a teenager almost," Jones said.

Experts say sinus infections are not only caused by pollen and allergens, they can also be triggered by plain old germs. So washing your hands religiously may also help you prevent our annual sinus infection.