BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Locals who suffer from seasonal allergies would likely agree with studies that claim Louisiana is among the top ten worse states for a person with pollen allergies to live.
Though the most intense months for sufferers seem to be March through May, sometimes people in Louisiana are still affected by allergies during the summer months.
Why does this happen? And, how can a person who has allergies cope?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs when allergens like pollen enter the body and the immune system mistakenly identifies them as a threat. Symptoms affect as many as 60 million people annually in the U.S. and can include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and inflammation of the lining of the eye (conjunctiva).
According to a 2022 interview with Our Lady of the Lake allergist and immunologist, Dr. Sandhya Mani, in The Advocate, the culprit for some allergies may be any variety of grasses or ragweed.
Dr. Mani told the newspaper, “Tis the season, and it’s a long one in South Louisiana. Trees get things started in February through June, grasses overlap in March through September, when ragweed takes over.”
So, it seems there’s nearly always a potential allergen lurking in Louisiana’s greenery.
How to fight allergies
Though summertime gives many allergy sufferers a bit of a break from symptoms, others may still find themselves sneezing.
Five suggestions on how to lessen allergen exposure and the ensuing symptoms are found below:
- Take prescribed allergy medications or OTC meds as needed– After consulting with a physician, make use of over-the-counter allergy medications at your local pharmacy and grocery store. There are a variety of brands to choose from (Zyrtec and Allegra to Benadryl and Claritin) and your doctor may be able to tell you which brand would be best for you.
- Don’t bring the outside, inside– Avoid getting pollen or other outside allergens into your home by removing your clothes and shoes as soon as you get home and jumping into the shower ASAP. You may also want to avoid hanging clothing and linens outside to dry.
- Keep your home as allergen-free as possible– Close all of your home’s windows and run the air conditioner if needed. You might also want to keep your car and porch consistently hosed down.
- Use indoor air purifiers with HEPA filters- Experts say indoor air purifiers trap dust, pollen, and other pollutants floating in the air and can be effective in removing the source of allergies.
- If symptoms worsen, let your doctor know– If you follow all of the precautions above and your symptoms become worse than usual, let your doctor know so they can refer you to a specialist or prescribe a different medication.
Click here for additional information related to allergy causes and symptoms.