LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Temperatures have been rising lately in Lake Charles and it's starting to feel like summer. But Spring isn't over just yet, and neither is allergy season.
Dr. Bridget Lohen, M.D., an ENT at the Lake Charles Imperial Health Center, says most allergies are year-round. Many people still deal with dust mite, pet, and mold allergies well beyond spring.
"Environmental allergies, we kind of see that year-round," says Loehn, "They're usually based on seasons depending on which pollen is prevalent in that area or that time of year. The pollen can be higher or lower. When we get a hard freeze, it kills all the pollens and all the plants. But we don't get that here."
Louisiana doesn't usually get very cold, so the pollen counts remain high. Loehn says if you have allergies, try to avoid going outside if you can.
"That's easier said than done," says Loehn, "It's very difficult to control allergies right now. With that, know your allergy triggers and things that make your allergy symptoms worse."
However, if you must go outside, Loehn suggests taking allergy medicine ahead of time to lower your symptoms.
Still, the majority of allergy sufferers forget the most basic part of avoiding allergies: washing your hands.
"It's important to get a lot of the pollen off the things you are around consistently," Loehn says. "In my practice, I advocate doing saline rinses and saline sprays in the nose. It gets the pollen out of the nose and reduces the symptoms."
Also, allergy victims should avoid rubbing their eyes and nose. Loehn says to remind your kids with allergies to wash their hands and face when they come inside from playing as well.
If you think you may have developed allergies, you can take an allergy test to be diagnosed properly.
"Usually when I see patients in my office, I discuss with them what their symptoms are, what they think they are allergic to, and how bad the symptoms are. After that, we discuss allergy medication to use to control the symptoms", Loehn says.
Some who suffer from allergies don't even know the extent of their allergy. You may think having watery eyes or a runny nose is normal, but some symptoms are a warning for something much worse.
Loehn says she's seen patients go into anaphylactic shock from seasonal allergies. Anaphylactic shock is when you have an extreme, life-threatening allergic reaction to an antigen to which the body has become hypersensitive.
So, when should you go to the doctor?
Loehn says, "When you have an allergy attack, clear drainage that turns colored, a runny nose, facial pressure, a pretty severe cough, or if you're running a fever."