How Allergies Are Affected by Visiting Austin City Limits and What to Do About Them

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Limits Music Festival is something music lovers and Austinites alike prepare for every year — from gear planning to sets to catch. But something else to consider is the effect it will have on attendees’ allergies.

Thousands of people flood Zilker Park for the festival, but all those people, plus the lack of rain, cause a lot of dust to rise into the air. This dust causes a lot of irritation to the nose and eyes.

Allergists say they’ve seen an increase in people seeking relief from dust. We spoke to one of them who explained why some people develop symptoms and he gave some advice on what ACL Weekend 2 participants can do to alleviate their symptoms.

John Vilasis, MD, an allergist-immunologist at the Austin Diagnostic Clinic, said Zilker dust exposure, in addition to being in the middle of ragweed season, has many people struggling with allergies.

“So there’s really two things going on right now. One is that, of course, the people who were out at ACL last weekend were very exposed to dust; that was probably the main thing that was going on,” Vilasis explained.

“But we’re also kind of in the middle of ragweed season right now, so ragweed, if you’re prone to ragweed allergies, that affects people as well. And so this week we’re seeing a lot of people who have nasal congestion, runny noses, sneezing, postnasal drip, and some of the asthma symptoms that have gotten worse because of that.

Here’s what Villacis said you can do to prepare and ease these symptoms:

  • Use a medicated nasal spray, such as Flonase or Nasonex, once a day
  • Use saline nasal solution throughout the day
  • Limit your time outdoors
  • If you will be outdoors, limit your exposure by wearing a face covering or mask

He also recommends seeing a board-certified allergist if you have serious problems that you think are allergy-related.

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