Allergy season already in full swing

Published 8:30 am Saturday, March 11, 2017

By Melanie Ruberti

LaGRANGE – The patient load in Dr. Diane McGowan’s office has started to pick up in the last few weeks.

The Ear, Nose and Throat doctor at the Emory at LaGrange clinic on Smith Street specializes in allergy and sinus conditions.

“In the last two to three weeks we’ve had very high pollen counts,” Dr. McGowan explained. “It’s all seasonal. We’re dealing with tree pollen right now. Later, when more rains and the humidity sets in, it will stimulate and increase mold in the air.”

Allergy and sinus symptoms are pretty easy to spot and usually overlap, McGowan said. The list includes: sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion and drainage plus sinus pressure and headaches.

While it is hard to predict when someone will feel the full effects of the allergy season, McGowan said it is better to get ahead of the issue.

Over-the-counter steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines tend to work the best for allergy sufferers, McGowan said. But if those do not help, it may be time to see your doctor.

“You don’t want to wait until your symptoms are out of control,” she stated.

Unfortunately for folks living in the South, allergy season does not begin and end with tree pollen.

“We have flowers, grass and weeds in the fall,” McGowan said. “Our area has pollen about 10 months out of the year. We really don’t get a break in the growth period.”

Worse yet: the region has experienced a warmer than normal winter season.

“There will be a lot of extra things growing this year,” McGowan stated. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of people coming in now.”

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.