Allergy sufferers get no relief in Southwest Louisiana

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

There’s no rest for allergy sufferers in Southwest Louisiana, whose warm climate ensures that the pollen seasons ­— trees,

grass, weeds — run one after the other, said a local ear, nose and throat specialist.

“Unfortunately, we live in Louisiana, it’s a much milder climate so we don’t see a winter freeze and the coldness that kills

off plants,” said Jeffrey Daigle, physician assistant at Southwest Louisiana Ear, Nose & Throat.

“We see our allergy seasons running all together. It’s almost a year-round thing living in Louisiana, but different people

are allergic to different pollens, so they are affected at different times of the year.”

Tree season typically runs from the end of December or beginning of January through May — as evidenced by the green or yellow

film on cars and other things outside.

After that comes grass season, which lasts until around July and is then followed by weed season. That ends with the first

winter freeze.

Daigle said the amount of pollen in the air can depend on how much it has rained and how cold the winter months were.

“There are going to be times when

pollen is higher; again it depends on what each person is allergic to,”

he said. “For instance,

we have four grasses in this region. If someone is allergic to all

four of them, then their allergen load is going to be much

higher than that of someone who is only allergic to one.”

Daigle said the sinuses warm cold

winter air as we breathe — which is why patients find they are more

congested when it’s

colder. Combine that with allergies and people see more severe

symptoms because “the nose just can’t account for all the swelling,”

he said.

Some of the most common symptoms: itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; nasal congestion; and runny nose.

Dr. Brad LeBert, at Southwest Louisiana Ear, Nose & Throat, said he gives patients several recommendations to combat allergy

symptoms and that there are “environmental things” that people can do depending on which season they are affected by.

“One thing a lot of patients like to do

during the cool days of spring is open up their windows and air out

their house,”

he said. “If a patient suffers from allergens during the spring

season, then that’s the worst thing they could do. What they

are doing is allowing the pollen to come into their house rather

than keeping it outdoors.”

Daigle said people who suffer from allergies shouldn’t dry their clothes outside because that could make matters worse. And

they should wait until the afternoon to cut their grass because the pollen count is lower then than in the morning.

LeBert said keeping pets out of

bedrooms can help combat allergy symptoms, as can removing carpets —

which may harbor dust

mites, pollen and pet dander. “Another recommendation is to keep

ceiling fans dusted and use air purifiers to remove the pollen

from the air,” he said.

LeBert said some allergy sufferers can find relief in over-the-counter antihistamines — like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra.

But, he said, people with high blood pressure should be wary of any such products with a “D.”

He said the letter indicates the

medicine contains the decongestant pseudoephedrine, which can cause

problems with blood pressure.

Daigle said that some patients with severe symptoms will require a prescription from a physician.

“What works for one person may not work for another person,” LeBert said. “It varies from person to person depending on what

they are allergic to and how their body reacts.”

According to the pollen count through Friday is “high” for tree pollen, “medium” for grass pollen, and inactive

for weed pollen.