LAFAYETTE, La. — Oak trees around Acadiana might be a beautiful sight, but they’re causing some pretty bad allergy symptoms to some people– like puffy eyes and runny nose.
“The yellow stuff people are seeing all over their car right now is pine and oak,” said allergist Dr. Andrew Collins. “Even though pine is one of the more visible types of pollen, it really serves as more of a signal to the start of allergy season.”
Dr. Collins says there can be an overlap in the symptoms for COVID-19, a cold, or spring allergies, which can also be known as hay fever.
“That can be really hard,” he said. “That’s one of the problems that primary care doctors and allergists have had over the last several months. It can be really hard distinguishing cold symptoms versus seasonal allergies symptoms versus covid.”
Dr. Collins says if you have a fever and joint pain plus some cold-like symptoms, it might be time to get a COVID-19 test. But, if what you’re having is more of itchy and puffy eyes, and nasal and throat itching, there’s a good chance you’re having an allergic reaction to pollen.
The timing of the pollen uptick also makes people change their daily lives to avoid a reaction.
“A lot of times people will shift their daily running schedule to the evening when pollen counts aren't quite as high,” he said. “Keeping windows closed especially on drier, windy days, keeping the air conditioner running will help dehumidifying [and] filter out the particulate matter out of the air... That can all help.”
Dr. Collins says pollen count usually increases in the early morning hours.
Plus, during different times of the year, different types of pollen are more dominant.
During spring, pollen from trees is more prevalent, while in summer, grass pollen is greater. In fall, rag weed pollen is more widespread; finally, by late fall and winter, pollen count, overall, is pretty low.
He says over the counter medicine can help to keep these allergies under control. When you start feeling these symptoms, it is best to contact an expert, otherwise, Dr. Collins says you’ll be playing catch up with your symptoms all season long.
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