Spring allergy season starts off as one of the worst in years, allergists say

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Allergists say this oak, grass and pine season is starting off as one of the worst in years for allergies.

"I started feeling tired, and I started thinking, 'wow I'm getting enough sleep,' and then it just kind of dawned on me. I looked at the date. Boom here it is, allergy season," said Sarah Ambrose, who was jogging through City Park Tuesday.

"I think this year is bad," said LSUHSC's Dr. Tammy Harvey. "It's worse than normal."

Harvey said her Family Asthma Allergy and Immunology Clinic in Harahan has been busy. She said more patients stopped in during the first two weeks of this allergy season than ever before.

"Even my patients that normally do well are coming in sick," said Harvey.

Harvey blames the swing in temperatures.

"When the weather goes from very cold to very warm very quickly, that often triggers pollen levels to increase and the rain and the wind are just increasing people's exposure, so it's worse than ever," said Harvey.

Allergy patient Margeaux Fox knows just how bad symptoms can get.

"It's almost like having the flu or a bad sinus infection," said Fox. "There's times that I can't go to work because I'm so worn down."

Fox sees Dr. Harvey for immunotherapy shots, which work to reverse her symptoms.

Harvey said the shots are an option that is almost always covered by insurance but is often underutilized.

"You'd be amazed at how many people just suffer, and they just keep sneezing," said Harvey.

Harvey said pay close attention to kids, especially those who play spring sports. She said symptoms often get worse at night, so snoring and nighttime coughing can often be red flags that a child is having an allergic reaction.

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