Do Your Allergies Seem to Bud with the Trees?

If you’re ready for a cold and snowy winter season to end (we may be biased here in the Midwest!), there’s nothing quite like the thought of spring, budding trees, blooming flowers, the first robin sighting, and hope for warmer days ahead.

But, with budding trees comes the start of “hay fever” season. Tree pollen is often the first seasonal allergy trigger of the year. It’s finer than most pollen and can travel over a thousand miles in the wind!

Everyday tips to reduce your exposure to tree pollen and treating the root cause of your tree pollen allergy with personalized allergy drop immunotherapy can go a long way to help you feel better. Being able to identify trees in your area that may trigger your symptoms can also be helpful.

Tree Allergy Symptoms

Tree pollen causes what many people know as “hay fever,” or allergic rhinitis symptoms:

  • Runny and/or itchy nose
  • Congestion
  • Post nasal drip
  • Itchy, watery, burning eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Headache

Yet, these are not the only symptoms you may experience if you’re allergic to tree pollen — eating some foods can cause problems too.

Why Do Some Foods Trigger Tree Pollen Allergy?

Sometimes, the protein in a tree or plant pollen is similar to the protein found in another substance, such as a food. This is called cross reactivity, and it can confuse your immune system and cause an allergic reaction.

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is a specific type of cross reactivity between trees and certain types of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, celery, peaches, or potatoes. Common symptoms include an itchy or tingling mouth, tongue, face, or throat. You may only experience symptoms when eating some OAS-causing foods, or during peak pollen season. Eating these foods without their skin, or cooked, may reduce OAS symptoms.

Birch and alder are two common triggers for OAS symptoms. Watch this quick video to learn more about Oral Allergy Syndrome caused by birch pollen.

This is not an inclusive list of the foods that may cause Oral Allergy Syndrome. If you have questions or concerns about whether you’re experiencing Oral Allergy Syndrome or a food allergy, immediately contact your provider.

Everyday Tips to Reduce Tree Allergen Exposure

Some everyday steps can help you reduce your exposure to tree pollen:

  • Check your local pollen count through sites such as the National Allergy Bureau, pollen.com, or Allergy and Asthma Network’s Forecast
  • Keep your windows closed and use an air conditioner
  • Change your clothes after spending long periods of time outdoors
  • Dry clothes in a dryer and avoid using outdoor clotheslines
  • Wear sunglasses to help keep pollen out of your eyes
  • Shower at night to wash away pollen
  • Brush your pets frequently to reduce pollen in their fur
  • Try to stay inside on dry, windy days when pollen levels are often higher
  • Remove your shoes before walking inside
  • Vacuum at least weekly to remove pollen tracked inside on people and pets

But, who wants to stay inside on a nice day? There are plenty of tips to help you reduce pollen exposure, though you can see many of them can have a major impact on your lifestyle. Fortunately, you don’t have to let pesky allergies hold you back from activities you enjoy. Personalized allergy drop immunotherapy can be a game changer to improve your lifestyle and get you back to your favorite activities.

But, which tree pollens are common concerns in your area?

 

Tree Pollen by Region

There are thousands of tree species and their peak season varies across the U.S. Here’s a quick rundown of common trees found in different regions of the country.

West

Juniper, poplar, cottonwood, aspen, elm, maple, alder, pine, birch, walnut, and oak are popular trees in western states like Colorado and Washington. Oak is an extremely high pollen-producing tree that causes problems across much of the country

Around California, eucalyptus, silver wattle, almond, casuarinas, camphor, and catalpa trees are common trees to be aware of.

South Central

Mountain cedar, or ashe juniper, causes the dreaded Cedar Fever in many southern states, especially Texas. Elm, ash, maple, box elder, the Eastern Red Cedar, and oak pollen are other allergy-triggering tree pollens in the region.

South Atlantic

Palm trees create a tropical landscape, but they can cause problems for those who are allergic. In Florida, also be on the lookout for olive trees due to the high amount of pollen they produce.

Other trees that are more common across the country and cause problems in the South Atlantic include junipers, elms, oaks, and cedars.

Northeast

Pine trees are everywhere in the New Jersey area. Pine pollen is much larger than other pollen, so it’s more difficult for it to enter your lungs and airways. Oak, juniper, maple, birch, mulberry, elm, and cottonwood are high pollen-producing trees across the region, including in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Midwest

The Midwest is home to a variety of pollen-producing trees in two main seasons. From March to mid-April, maple, ash, juniper, elm, and alder start spreading pollen. From mid-April to May, birch, walnut, mulberry, oak, cottonwood, and pine trigger symptoms. In addition to the oak tree, the box elder tree is another high pollen-producing tree that triggers hay fever in the Midwest and across the country.1

 

Treat the “Root” of Your Tree Allergy

You’re probably familiar with several over-the-counter allergy medications. They can work well to relieve your symptoms, but they only provide temporary relief. To treat the root cause of your tree allergies for long-term relief, immunotherapy is the only option.

Personalized allergy drop immunotherapy following the La Crosse Method™ Protocol is a safe and effective option that you simply take as drops under your tongue. Doses are based on your unique “allergic fingerprint” and the specific tree pollens and other allergens you’re allergic to.

Patients across the country have benefited from this therapy. Find a provider near you who is trained in the La Crosse Method™ Protocol if you’re ready to start treating the root of your tree allergies.

Resource

  1. Allergic Living’s Tree Pollen Allergy Field Guide. Allergic Living website. https://www.allergicliving.com/2014/04/16/tree-pollen-allergy-field-guide/ Accessed January 18, 2022.