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.