Allergies hit early and hard in South Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Think you have a cold? Doctors say there's a good chance the misery you're in is the result of an early spring allergy season. As WAFB Medical Correspondent Phil Rainier tells us, there's good reason to think so.

It's been a mild winter. In fact, cypress, elm and cedar trees began showering Louisiana with massive amounts of pollen about a month early. Allergist Ben Gaudin says.

"The levels are probably 30 or 50 percent higher than it would be normally this time of year."

It's triggered a steady stream of miserable patients, many of whom get shots to keep them symptoms in check.   Wallace Dupre is one of them. You don't have to tell him allergy season hit early and hard this year.

"It's bad, on Mardi Gras Tuesday I spent most of the day in bed."

Runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes are the symptoms de jour. Experts say the extremely high levels can not only make the misery more intense, it can prolong it.  Allergist Ben Gaudin says timing can help some allergy sufferers control their symptoms.

Trying to target out activities outdoors to later in the day when pollen counts are a little bit lower can provide some benefit.  Over the counter antihistamines help some people. Unfortunately, not everyone. For them, it could take prescription medicine or even shots to feel better.