Though strong winds, pollen and drought are not strangers to West Texas, they are causing one of the worst allergy seasons to date.
According to local allergists, the trio can trigger asthma symptoms in people who were not aware they had the condition.
"The drought has really been hard on this area and increased pollen this year," Susan McQuade, asthma educator at Hendrick Medical Center, said. "It's higher than usually at this time of year so we're seeing a lot of children who are exhibiting asthma symptoms that are triggered by their allergies."
McQuade said even older patients who have never reported struggling with allergies are now exhibiting symptoms. She said poplar, ash and mountain cedar trees are especially active right now.
"It's higher than usually at this time of year so we're seeing a lot of children who are exhibiting asthma symptoms that are triggered by their allergies."
McQuade said it is crucial to know when asthma is triggered.
"This time of year, they might start out with sneezing and congestion and they might complain of a sore throat," McQuade said. "If that lasts for several days, untreated, it can trigger their asthma symptoms which will normally start out as a dry hacking little cough--especially at night--and also shortness of breath, wheezing and just complaining of not feeling well."
She said asthma is most manageable when it is diagnosed quickly.
Free asthma screenings will be available May 4 at the Asthma Awareness Carnival in the Kohl's Department Store parking lot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.