When does tree pollen allergy season occur?
Those with nasal allergies dread springtime because it means tree pollen season is back. Just like grasses and weeds, there are a number of trees that produce pollen that is carried away by the air to fertilize other plants. Oftentimes, these pollens instead find its way into our bodies through our throat and nostrils when we inhale, thus making our day all the more miserable. Since tree pollens are airborne, avoidance is impossible.
However, among the types of allergenic pollens, trees do not produce as much problems as do grasses and weeds. This is because some countries have relatively shorter pollen seasons than others. In North America and Europe, tree pollination occurs as early as January and can extend until June.
What kinds of trees produce allergenic pollens?
Fruit-bearing trees do not trigger allergies because they are insect-pollinating. Pollens of fruit trees are heavy and sticky, thus, they cannot be carried away by the wind. The pollens of plain looking trees are the ones that cause allergies. Trees known to produce allergenic pollens are: Oak, ash, elm, hickory, pecan, box elder, and mountain cedar.
Those with allergy to tree pollen suffer from nasal congestion, sneezing, and nasal discharge. Their eyes will start to itch or get puffy and watery, and there will be noticeable allergic shiners, or dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses. Conjunctivitis can also develop, together with postnasal drip, mental dullness, and fatigue. The throat becomes itchy, and hoarseness and loss of voice may occur. If you have some of these symptoms, you are experiencing a case of seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is also known as hay fever.
The effect of hay fever can vary among different people. Some may be mildly affected, while others may suffer greatly. If the allergic reaction progresses and affects our airways, tracheitis, asthma, and bronchitis can result.
For some highly allergic individuals the allergy season never ends. Trees typically pollinate in the early spring, but can begin releasing pollen in January, especially following a mild winter.
How do I manage tree pollen allergies?
If you feel that you are experiencing a tree pollen allergy, see your doctor as soon as you can. There are several medications that can be prescribed, depending on your needs. There are over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays available.
Since medications only offer temporary relief, people with severe allergies, however, would rather undergo immunotherapy.
Since tree pollens are impossible to avoid outdoor, we should just take measures to prevent pollens from entering our homes.
1. Wash bed sheets weekly to get rid of pollens that may have entered the house.
2. Shower before going to bed to get rid of collected pollens on our skin and hair.
3. Keep your windows closed and use air-conditioning inside your home and your car.
4. Dry your clothes indoors, because if left hung to dry outside, pollens can easily attach to the fabrics.
5. Wear a filter mask when working outdoors.
6. Avoid outdoor activities between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, because this period is the peak time for dissemination of pollens.
7. Do some spring cleaning. Clean ducts, vents, filters, and ducts.
8. Pets can also collect pollens from outside so keep them out of your bedroom and off the furniture.
Tree pollen season may be different in other countries, so it is best to learn more about the pollen cycles where you live and track when your allergies act up.