Wacky weather is causing allergy misery

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- Most doctors will tell you, weather doesn't make people sick.  But this winter, the weather may be the number one cause of why so many feel so miserable.

While a stuffy head, congestion, sneezing and coughing may sound like just another virus, this year's mild winter is causing some major allergy problems.

10 year old Chandler Caraway is one of those sufferers.  "If I go outside and play, I can't stop coughing" Chandler said.  All winter long, "it seems like we haven't gotten a break" mom Suzanne added.

Like many in Kentuckiana, Chandler is especially sensitive to molds and pollens, and those two along are this winter, the perfect storm for allergy sufferers.

"When you have allergies, it's kind of like getting repeated burns.  So your airway is getting inflamed and the longer that's occurring, you get more chronic inflammation" Dr. James Sublett explained.

It's a problem this winter because the mold never got wiped out due to the lack of a long, hard freeze and the mild temperatures cued tree pollens about a month early.

"We've actually seen pollen in moderate levels from trees back first week of February, late January, which is very unusual" Dr. Sublett said.

And the combo is filling doctors offices with complaints of allergy symptoms and asthma flares.

Dr. Sublett advises that if cold symptoms are lasting more than the typical 7 to 10 days, it's very likely allergies are a culprit, and putting the person at risk for secondary colds, respiratory infections and recurring sinus infections.

"With the continued problems over the winter, it's going to bring out for a lot of people, maybe, problems they haven't seen as much in the past" Dr. Sublett said.

And Chandler agrees, calling this winter especially tough for him, "it's not really fun, cause you can't really get a breath without coughing" he said.

If you manage allergy symptoms with over the counter medications and they're not working, it's time to see your doctor and Dr. Sublett says it may be time to consider allergy testing and possibly even allergy shots.  For asthmatics, it's extremely important to take controller meds in a season like this.  Dr. Sublett warns that a trigger can hit unexpectedly.