Michelle Southern reporting.
Allergy season is in full swing a little early this year, and experts say because Louisiana had such a mild winter, there never really was a low pollen period. Dr. Kenneth Paris, head of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at LSU Health New Orleans, says warm winters typically mean pollen season will peak earlier, and last longer.
"And when we've had dry weather like we've had recently, it lets that pollen fly around the air a little bit longer," said Paris. "So you have an extended pollen season when you don't have rain."
Paris says people who have seasonal allergies are typically bothered by itchy, drippy and sneezy symptoms. But he says the pollen season really impacts kids and adults with asthma a great deal.
"And that can cause a lot of burden of illness on patients, families and the healthcare system, when kids and adults are having exacerbations of respiratory symptoms," said Paris.
Paris says there are plenty of effective medications on the market to help people keep their allergy symptoms under control. He recommends oral antihistamines that are non-sedating, and a now-available over the counter intranasal steroid sprays.
"And if you start those medications early in the pollen season and don't wait until your symptoms are overwhelming," said Paris. "You can actually control those allergic symptoms and decrease the burden of illness."