NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Allergy season is upon us, but according to experts, it never really left.
"We are seeing a lot more patients than what we used to see in the past," LSU Health Allergy and Immunology Dr. Sanjay Kamboj said.
Kamboj is seeing about a five to 10 percent increase in patients so far this year.
One theory is that the warmer temperatures are helping pollen-producing plants sprout sooner, he said.
"Here we are seeing tree pollens and grass pollens earlier," Kamboj said. "It's combined. There are both tree pollens and grass pollens outside, and people who are allergic to those problems are having increased symptoms."
According to LSU Health New Orleans pollen counter, tree pollen has a high concentration and weed pollen has a moderate concentration. The symptoms can be brutal for people suffering from allergies.
"I can feel it in the air. My eyes run," Sharon Nabonne said.
"I take generic Claritin everyday, and I have a nasal steroid I take as well," allergy sufferer Alex Brown said. "As soon as there are leaves on the trees, that's basically when it starts for me."
While some people say the high pollen count is crippling, other people find it very good for business.
"Car wash owners love allergy season because everybody wants to have their cars - number one, clean, number two, with all the pollen on the windshields, it really does reduce the visibility of what you're going to see during the day and at night," Soft Touch Car Wash owner Rachelle Bourg said.
Business jumps 50 percent during this time of the year, Bourg said.
Over-the-counter medicine can often help symptoms, but Dr. Kamboj says if the symptoms are severe, see an allergist.
"The reason being there are other reasons for these symptoms, and we want to just make sure there is nothing else being missed," he said.