Louisville doctor explains why this year's allergy season is more intense than normal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The season of sneezing and wheezing is upon us, filled with with teary eyes, runny noses and non-stop coughs.

"I couldn't stop sneezing for like 20 minutes," allergy sufferer William Conboy said.

And if you feel like this year's allergy season is worse than normal, doctors say you're right. And they know why.

Dr. James Sublett, one of the founders of Family Allergy & Asthma, said that as the bright beautiful flowers start to bloom, Louisville allergy sufferers are packing local doctors' offices.

"What's kind of happened now is we have the perfect storm for pollen, and we have tree pollen that are high and grass pollen are coming on, which is pretty typical for this time of year," he said.

Sublett attributes the heightened discomfort this allergy season to a "late spring."

"The difference is we don't usually see tree pollen hanging on this late," he said.

Many allergy sufferers can literally see their misery in the form of a pollen coating underneath a tree or on top of their cars.

"They're really bad," Irene Helm said of her allergies. "I keep clearing my throat and everything ... just terrible."

There are a lot of remedies. Some are legitimate, while others are just folklore.

"I do ear candles," Helm said. "Did them last night, because, you know, it gets the pressure in your ear and stuff. Also, elderberry syrup. It kind of helps with the sinus inflammation."

Sublett is a little leery of some home remedies. He said honey is a commonly tried home remedy, but it's a myth that it does any good. But there is one home remedy that he does recommend.

"I think the nasal saline washes are helpful," he said. "But again, most people need some sort of medication, and for those who are moderate-to-severe, they need to think about more immuno-therapies or allergy shots."

The Louisville area and southern Indiana consistently ranks among the five worst places to live in the nation for those suffering with allergy and asthma. Sublett said allergy sufferers will probably be living with discomfort for the next six to eight weeks. 

He recommends being proactive: If your allergies are bad, consider a mask when you're outside, especially when doing yard work, and try changing out the air filters in your home.

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