What to Know About Spring Tree Pollen Allergies

Spring Tree Pollen Allergies

Springtime presents an influx of pollinating plants that may flare up your allergies and asthma. Some of the biggest spring pollen allergy-causing plants in Minnesota are trees. Trees become massive pollen producers soon after they re-foliate. In fact, if you shake some trees during the spring, you can actually see large clouds of pollen exude from them.

Here is more about which trees are the worst offenders in Minnesota, when they produce the most pollen, and how to alleviate your allergy symptoms.

What Trees Are Big Pollen Producers?

Minnesota is home to a large number of trees that produce a high amount of allergy-causing pollen. Some of the most common tree allergens in the northern United States come from:

  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Cedar
  • Oak
  • Cottonwood
  • Hickory
  • Elm

Fortunately, most people are rarely allergic to more than one type of tree.

When Do Trees Produce the Most Pollen?

Most trees begin to produce pollen early in the spring. In Minnesota, this means you could start to feel your tree pollen allergy flare up during April and continue until the end of May. Tree pollen is primarily transported on the wind and can travel over long distances.

What Are the Symptoms of Tree Pollen Allergies?

The majority of people allergic to tree pollen suffer rhinitis, also known as a runny nose and swollen nasal passages. These reactions are also accompanied by watery eyes and itchy ears and tend to worsen as the pollen counts rise over the day or when the weather is windy. Extra sensitive people may also experience asthma, especially when pollen counts are high.

Certain foods may also trigger an allergic reaction if you have a tree pollen allergy. For example, an allergy to birch may cause a cross reaction with apples. This happens because the birch pollen is so similar to apples’ proteins that your body can’t distinguish between them. You may also have a reaction to cherries, nuts, and pears as well.

These foods can cause mouth itchiness or swelling, so watch out for sinus or oral reactions.

Can Tree Pollen Allergies Be Treated at Home?

You can avoid or reduce the impact of a tree pollen allergy in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

  • Take antihistamines: Several effective antihistamines are available over the counter that specifically target allergy reactions. Start taking these before the season begins.
  • Dry laundry in a machine: Clothes and sheets dried outdoors collect pollen. If you must dry clothes outdoors, do so when the pollen count is low.
  • Keep windows closed: When your windows are open, pollen can invade your home with the wind.
  • Change clothes at night: Your day clothes could carry excess pollen, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Change into different clothes at night before bed to reduce pollen exposure.
  • Avoid peak pollen counts: You can sign up for pollen alerts or search for pollen counts online. Avoid times when the tree your allergic to has high counts.
  • Wear a hat: If you spend a great deal of time outdoors, wear a hat to reduce the chance of pollen in your hair.

Keep these tips in mind to protect you and your family from pollen allergy symptoms.

When Should One See a Doctor for Tree Pollen Allergies?

If you cannot control your tree pollen allergy, or you suffer from asthma, see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor could prescribe more effective antihistamines or allergy shots to reduce symptoms. If you are unsure if trees are the problem, then you may also need an allergy test.

If you know you are allergic to tree pollen, see a doctor before the pollen counts get too high. Your doctor can give you advice on ways to reduce symptoms and lessen tree pollen’s impact on your life. Give Stellis Health a call for an appointment. We can evaluate your allergies and other health issues so that you stay healthy when tree pollen season hits.