Allergy season is year-round in the South

Doctors say outdoor allergens start early and last longer
GF Default - LSU Health New Orleans pollen counting team
GF Default - LSU Health New Orleans pollen counting team
Published: Feb. 13, 2019 at 4:37 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - You may have noticed the pollen counts jumping up over the last couple of weeks, if not in reports, than with more sneezing and watery eyes. Doctors remind you it’s time to get ready for the long allergy season ahead.

It’s the perfect day for Sam Rodriguez and his son to hit the playground, but dad has to make sure he’s ready.

“I mean, I have to take a Claritin and keep some on hand at the house,” he said.

Without it, Rodriguez said, “It’s pretty miserable. It’s just like feeling foggy throughout the day.”

For others, it’s even more extreme.

“I have several allergies. Environmental, food as well as medication, but environmental is the worst,” Demetria Jordan said.

While Jordan helps patients at the LSU Health Center, she is also a patient of Dr. Sanjay Kamboj with LSU Health Allergy and Immunology.

“Pollens, grass, mold, dust and unfortunately cockroaches, which we really have here in Louisiana,” Jordan said.

“Basically up North they have seasons," Kamboj said. "We don’t truly have seasons here.”

That means no real breaks.

“We start early. We start seeing at the end of January the tree pollens, and February we start seeing some grass pollens and some weeds," Kamboj said. "It’s continuous through the summer, and in the fall the ragweed is the main problem, but we continue to see grass also.”

“You can maintain medication, but you can’t control the environment,” Jordan said.

Which is why Kamboj says it’s best to be proactive.

“Clean your nose, because it removes allergens and mucus from your nose. Wear glasses. When you come home, wash your face,” he said.

Kamboj says daily steroid nasal sprays are great, but only work if used daily. Also, systems to rinse sinuses are great, but never use tap water without boiling it first.

For others, immunotherapy might be necessary.

“We introduce the allergens what you are allergic to in small amounts," Kamboj said.

While itchy eyes and stuffy noses are a problem, doctors say pollen isn’t always the culprit.

“It’s not always pollen, so people can be allergic to indoor environmental pollen like dust mites, which usually lives in carpets or on clothing,” Kamboj said.

Sometimes it’s not allergies at all.

“Fifty percent of the time, the chronic rhinitis is because of other illnesses,” Kamboj said.

“Just if you have allergies or suspect you have allergies, get medical treatment. And that would be my advice to help you where you can live a productive life and not be confined inside,” Jordan said.

Treatment to help you breathe easy whatever the season.

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