What's Going Around: spring allergies

What's Going Around: spring allergies
Spring allergies are making many people feel miserable, but there are some over-the-counter treatment options that can minimize your symptoms, according to Dr. Ben Palombo with Lake Area Family Physicians. (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Nothing takes the spring out of your enjoyment of springtime weather faster than seasonal allergies.  

In a practically winter-less area like Southwest Louisiana, allergies are a year-round battle, says Dr. Ben Palombo with Lake Area Family Physicians.

"There's a lot of pollen come springtime," said Dr. Palombo, "and sometimes you might not even be allergic to the pollen, it's just the volume of pollen in the air is irritating to your sinus and your lungs."

That can trigger an allergic response, releasing histamines into the blood, which start the runny nose, itchy eyes, and coughing.

"People get the sniffles, cough, but they're not really sick," said Dr. Palombo.  "They just have these symptoms and a lot of people come in because they think they're sick, but it's really just a chronic allergy type of symptom."

To control that, Dr. Palombo says antihistamines will help.

"There's a lot of different kinds, some make you more drowsy than others. Ones that I recommend, they're now over the counter, like Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin.  Now Xyzal is also over the counter, which is basically a cleaned up version of Zyrtec," said Dr. Palombo.

Nasal steroid sprays can also keep your symptoms at bay.

"They help treat the overreaction of the immune system to the allergen and they also help treat the chronic inflammation that can come with it," said Dr. Palombo.

Untreated allergies are not just miserable, the chronic inflammation can lead to a bacterial infection.  If you start experiencing sinus pain and fever, in addition to the sneezing and coughing, you need to see your doctor.

Wheezing while breathing is more of a sign of allergies versus a cold or sinus infection.  Albuterol inhalers can help with wheezing and in some cases, a course of steroids will be prescribed for a week.

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