Climate and region play a role in allergies. Whether you’ve always lived in the South or you recently moved here, you may notice more allergy problems than in other parts of the country. The warm, humid climate of Louisiana is the perfect breeding ground for outdoor allergens. 

At Southern ENT Associates, we diagnose and treat a full spectrum of issues related to the ears, nose, and throat. Our allergists and ENT physicians work together to help our patients here in Louisiana manage problematic allergy symptoms. 

Keep reading if you’ve ever wondered why allergies are worse in the South. 

Allergic fungal sinusitis

Allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) is a distinct type of chronic rhinosinusitis that occurs when fungi normally found in the environment trigger an immune response that results in chronic sinus inflammation.

Fungi are found everywhere in the environment. The microscopic spores float in the air. When susceptible people encounter fungi through normal breathing, it can provoke an exaggerated immune response.
AFS is relatively uncommon in other parts of the United States. Most people who develop AFS live in the South. This led scientists to identify living in a warm, humid climate such as Louisiana as a risk factor for AFS.

Patients with AFS often have a history of chronic sinusitis. AFS is also a significant cause of nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths that develop in the lining of the sinuses. 

Polyps can obstruct the normal drainage of your sinuses, making it difficult to breathe and increasing your risk of sinus infections. Polyps that are large enough can cause chronic nasal obstruction.

Symptoms of allergic fungal sinusitis include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Nasal polyps
  • Facial pressure
  • Nasal congestion
  • Diminished sense of smell
  • Thick, yellow nasal discharge

If you’re diagnosed with AFS, you need a specialist who knows how to tackle this allergic condition. At Southern ENT Associates, our highly skilled team of ENT and allergy specialists is well-equipped to help you best manage AFS.

Pollen allergies

While pollen allergies occur throughout the country, this seasonal allergy is especially problematic in the South. If you’ve noticed that your seasonal allergies are worse when you’re here, it’s not your imagination. 
Here’s why pollen allergies are more bothersome in Louisiana and the rest of the South.

The allergy season is longer

In the South, you’re exposed to pollen and other allergens for longer than in other parts of the country. In the Midwest and Northern states, plants die or become dormant in the winter, reducing allergen exposure.
Because of warmer winters in the South, pollen hangs around. Allergy season starts earlier and lasts longer. Mid-April brings the onset of allergy season in the South, exposing you to the first phase of pollen, called the “priming effect.” 

As the season progresses, Southerners get a second blast of pollen, which causes symptoms to last longer and increases symptom severity.

The pollen counts are higher

Pollen counts are higher in the South than in other parts of the country. In fact, the South is often referred to as the “pollen belt.”

Most plants that cause allergies produce small, light, dry pollen grains that readily float in the air. Pollen can drift for hundreds of miles in the air, and some plants — such as ragweed — can produce a million grains of pollen each day.

With more pollen floating around, Southerners find that their symptoms are more bothersome.

If you’re struggling with allergy symptoms, we can help. Call our nearest office to schedule a visit with one of our providers. We’re dedicated to helping you achieve allergy relief so you can enjoy your life. 

Our clinics are located in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, and Youngsville, Louisiana.

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