Recognize The Hazards Of Pine Pollen Allergy
People who are bothered by seasonal allergies know that it is important to get medical help quickly in case they suffer a severe allergic reaction. It can be caused by a plant, as in the case of a pine pollen allergy. Other causes include shellfish and bee stings.
It’s very common to see an allergist to determine if you have any allergies. You’ll learn how to identify the signs of mild, moderate, and server allergic reactions. You may be encouraged to carry a fast-acting medicine to take in an emergency.
Reactions to pine pollen are similar to the results of other pollen allergies. People allergic to pine pollen often have grass allergies. Allergic reactions to pine nuts range from mild to extremely severe cases, including anaphylactic reaction. This life-threatening reaction can occur in seconds. Watch for warning signs in restaurants, fast food places, and other places where food is prepared and/or served.
- Reactions can be set off by breathing in or touching allergens.
- Allergies to pine trees with light pollen grains usually cause symptoms much like those of hay fever.
- Pine trees that produce a lot of sap typically cause skin irritation.
Well-known members of the Pine Family (Pinaceae) that produce lots of pollen include:
• Black Spruce
• Whitebark Pine
• Balsam Fir
• Norway Spruce
• Red Spruce
• Ponderosa Pine
• Eastern White Pine
• Scotch Pine
The diagnosis of pine nuts allergies has increased in the last twenty years. Part of the increase is due to the inclusion of edible pine seeds in popular Mediterranean Diet meals. Certain areas of the United States have heavy stands of pine trees that release a lot of pollen during the reproductive season. Is the threat of pine pollen allergy limited to a specific short time each year?
Not Just A Seasonal Allergy
A pine pollen allergy is not limited to a specific season. Studies on loblolly pine pollen from North Carolina’s Outer Banks show the trees shed millions of pounds of pollen between late March and early April. The peak season distribution settles on vehicles, the ground, and buildings. The pollen is spread after that time by the wind and the atmosphere. It can travel hundreds of miles and reach levels of 2000 feet in the air.
Tree pollination in Washington, Oregon, and California is heaviest from February to June. There is usually a heavy layer of pine pollen residue on rocks, the ground, and vehicles, leading allergy sufferers to blame the pines for their misery. However, the reaction is usually caused by native grasses and trees, particularly:
Pine pollen residue remains active through the year. Airborne pollen grains are released during the last few months of the year as trees are cut for the Christmas season. The pollen shakes loose when the trees are transported to other areas for sale. The cycle continues as the trees are taken to homes and left standing outside for a day or two while the branches drop.
The trees are brought indoors to a confined area. Warm circulating air inside the house causes the pollen to spread and increases the change of an allergic reaction.
Symptoms And Effects Of Pine Pollen Allergy
What happens when a person is allergic to pine pollen and comes into contact with it? The body’s immune system releases histamines into the blood stream to fight against the invasion. Histamines cause rashes, itching and swelling that affect the:
• Gastrointestinal tract
• Bags under the eyes
• Itchy, watery, bloodshot eyes
• Runny nose
Identifying And Treating Pine Pollen Allergy
Schedule an appointment with an allergist if you think you may be allergic to pine pollen. Several tests identify allergies to pine pollen. The most common test involves placing pollen on the skin and evaluating the reaction. Blood tests are evaluated in the lab.
The allergist will discuss treatment with you and prescribe or recommend medication to control the symptoms. Options include calamine lotion to reduce itching and prescription nasal sprays.
Another way to reduce the amount of pollen to which you are exposed is avoidance. High pollen levels typically occur between 5 and 10 a.m. Dry air and breezes encourage its travel. Stay inside as much as possible during that time. Here are other tips to avoid pollen exposure.
- Use a dryer or inside rack to dry the laundry. That reduces pollen collection.
- Schedule outdoor activities for the afternoon and evening hours, when pollen counts are low.
- Keep home and vehicle windows closed to reduce the chance of pollen entering your breathing area.
- Change the air filter in your air conditioner or swamp cooler regularly.
Identifying any allergen that affects you, your family, or pets helps guard against unwanted, potentially dangerous hazards. Proactive steps such as the ones listed above reduce the risk of pine pollen allergy symptoms.