NEW ORLEANS - The Spring allergy season is here and is expected to be worse than last year.
When Andres Nava moved to America, he got to experience the Spring allergy season like a true New Orleanian.
"When I was in Venezuela, I didn't have like a bad allergy and when I moved up here in New Orleans, I always get like runny nose and sneeze a lot and you can see the pollen," said Nava, who works at a local restaurant.
The reason it is so bad right now is that trees are producing pollen and the pollen is being blown around in the wind.
An LSUHSC allergy specialist says pollen is worse in the morning. Wearing goggles and a hat while out, or a mask while gardening, can help. You should also treat the symptoms.
"They can start with over-the-counter medications. Actually, one of the nasal steroids has recently, Nasacort, has been approved for over-the-counter medication," said Dr. Sanjay Kamboj, an LSUHSC board-certified specialist in allergy and immunology.
Using nose sprays more than three days can make congestion worse. Decongestant pills should not be used long term either. Benadryl and driving can be deadly. And pregnant women should not use anything unless cleared by their doctor, because it could permanently hurt the unborn baby.
"If it (medication) doesn't work, or you have any adverse reaction, if you get a nose bleed, people should go see a physician," said Dr. Kamboj.
There's good news and bad news about a rainy day like Friday. The rain temporarily washes the pollen out of the air, but after a thunderstorm there's more pollen dispersed throughout the atmosphere.
The Summer will bring grass pollen and the Fall is weed season.
If medications don't work, you can also get a series of vaccine injections over three to five years, against your allergies.
In the future, there could be pill vaccines for allergies. They are being tested now.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology