Are Tree Pollens Getting to You?

If you have been sniffling and sneezing with the onset of spring or dealing with a sore throat or itchy eyes, tree allergies may have gotten to you. Trees start blooming as early as February in many parts of the country and may keep up their mischief well into May.

Tree Pollens

(Pixabay / MemoryCatcher)

Different trees bloom in different regions, but here are some of the worst tree allergy offenders:

  • Alder
  • Arizona Cypress
  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Box Elder
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Juniper
  • Maple
  • Mulberry
  • Oak
  • Pecan
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut

Trees cause many of the same symptoms as other pollens, including a runny or stuffed-up nose, eczema, conjunctivitis (pink eye), coughing, post-nasal drip, and wheezing.

So how do you stay sane during tree pollen season? Unfortunately, there’s not necessarily a simple answer. It’s hard to avoid tree pollens because they are airborne. That means that even if you stay inside, lighter-than-air pollens may waft into your home anytime someone so much as cracks a window or door. When you do go outside, pollens can land in your hair or clothing and “hitchhike” inside with you.

If trees are making you miserable, talk to your allergy doctor about prescription allergy medications. Nasal sprays, eye drops, antihistamines, and decongestants can help with various symptoms. If you find your symptoms spanning more than a few months of the year or if they are making your life unbearable, you might benefit from an allergy treatment program.

Prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications work temporarily. When they wear off, however, your problems come right back. Rather than being dependent on synthetic medications, ask your doctor about allergy immunotherapy which can “re-wire” your immune system so you stop reacting to pollens in the first place.

The immune system gets into the allergy act when it gets confused and thinks a harmless pollen is a germ or bacteria. It then launches into offensive mode, fighting the pollen off by releasing chemicals like histamine into the body. These chemicals are the very things that stir up miserable allergic reactions.

Allergy immunotherapy can help desensitize the immune system so that it will simply ignore pollen rather than reacting to it. For many people, allergy immunotherapy provides a way to enjoy nature and feel good, too.

Your physician can recommend a couple different forms of immunotherapy. They can prescribe sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) or subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). They can also tell you more about the cost of allergy drops as compared to shots to help you make the best decision for your health and budget.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.