Early spring, early spring allergies

Chris Miller
February 20, 2018 - 8:46 am

The weather is warm and plants are blooming. For a lot of people, this means itchy, watery eyes and runny noses.

It's not just an early allergy season, it seems to be a bad one.

"We are seeing people coming to the hospital, because of their allergies, their asthma is worsening," said Dr. Sanjay Kamboj, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.

Dr. Kamboj, an expert in allergies, says those are particularly bad cases, but the number of hospital visits are on the rise, as grass and tree pollens are now filling the air.

"The best thing is to avoid them," said Dr. Kamboj, which may sound like impossible advice unless you live in a hermetically sealed bubble. But Dr. Kamboj says you can limit your exposure and alleviate the suffering.

"Wash your face, to just remove those antigens or allergens," he advises. The doctor says there are plenty of medications available that can ease the symptoms, too.

"Second or third generation antihistamine which includes Zyrtec, Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra," said Dr. Kamboj. He says generic versions of many name-brands are also available.

Dr. Kamboj recommends staying away from so-called first-generation allergy medicines, like Benadryl, which can cause drowsiness.

He also says patients can use saline nasal sprays to clear allergens out of their nose, and steroid nasal spray to help reduce inflammation.

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