The Spring is a beautiful season of rebirth, color and hope. However, it can also be the season of sneezing uncontrollably and feeling like a saint because you have been “blessed” so many times. With a little understanding of the Spring allergy season, you can get your symptoms under control so that you can feel clear and productive through your day. This time of the year, trees disperse their pollen and it gets all over your car and body. Here are some ways to understand and treat your tree pollen allergy symptoms.
Spring is Tree Pollen Allergy Season
A tree releases pollen just like any other plant does, but it’s a little different with this species. Trees’ pollen is very allergenic and when it gets inside your body, the immune system can trigger a response with antibodies called immunoglobulin E, which tries to find invaders in your body.
This antibody will find a potential invader that accidently happens to be pollen and it gets your mast cells to destroy them with the release of histamine. You can tell that this is happening because histamine causes inflammation that causes your allergy symptoms.
Depending on where you live, trees may pollinate at slightly different times, but it generally starts around the end of February and ends in May. When the temperature remains at 60 degrees for 4 days straight, this is usually the cue for trees to start pollinating. (1)
Birch trees are the biggest offender for allergy sufferers in the spring, but cedar, cottonwood and pine also trigger allergy symptoms.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Also called hay fever, this condition affects about 8 percent of the population. Allergies are considered your body’s reaction to something your immune system considers a foreign invader. In this case, it is the proteins found in tree pollen.
Upon initial exposure to an allergen like pollen, Immunoglobulin E attaches itself to your mast cells where the pollen tries to enter your body, like in your mucous membranes, mouth or throat. There, the protein will be destroyed with histamine and your body will experience inflammation at the site. If it’s in your nose, you’ll get congested. If it’s in your throat you’ll have a sore throat. (2)
Any subsequent times your body comes in contact with the same allergen, your mast cells activate and quickly try to destroy the protein with histamine and other inflammatory chemicals to try to get your body to help destroy all the invaders. This is when your allergies get very severe and uncomfortable.
There are ways to treat and prevent this process from occurring.
Tree Pollen Allergy Symptoms
It’s important to determine if your symptoms are actually from an allergic response and also if your allergy is from tree pollen. You can determine if this is the cause of your misery by identifying your symptoms.
- Tree pollen allergy may cause something known as oral allergy syndrome, which is when you eat particular fruits and vegetables and your mouth and throat become itchy. This happens in every allergy season, but particularly bothers sufferers when they eat almonds, bananas, apples, melons, kiwi, peanut, soybean and hazelnut.
- Facial pressure and sinus pain when coming in contact with outside air.
- Severe nasal congestion
- Watering eyes or mucous membranes
- Itchy or scratchy throat with a cough
- Senses seem to be more dull
- Dark blue color under the eyes
How to Diagnose a Particular Pollen Allergy
There’s really no test that you can buy in a store that can accurately tell you what specific pollen or protein that you are allergic to. You should visit an allergist who can do testing on you and confirm their diagnosis.
They will ask you about your symptoms and medical history and then perform a skin prick test to determine which specific allergen is causing your symptoms. If a spot becomes red and inflamed, you are allergic to it. (3)
This information is great to know because you will understand how to avoid the allergen and how to better treat the symptoms.
Oral Allergy Syndrome During the Spring Allergy Season
Some people with seasonal allergies experience a cross-reaction with food called oral allergy syndrome or OAS. This is when your mouth or throat becomes itchy after eating a particular raw fruit, vegetable or spice and occurs in about 65% of people allergic to tree pollen.
What happens when you eat the food is that the protein gets confused in the immune system as the protein from the tree pollen you are allergic to because they are very similar in structure. However, you are not normally allergic to these foods during the other seasons.
There is no specific test to determine what is causing this reaction, but it can be considered a mild allergic reaction.
A comprehensive list of possible foods that can trigger an oral allergy reaction include:
- Fruits: Apple, apricot, cherry, dates, kiwi, nectarine, peach, plum, prune
- Vegetables: Anise, beans, caraway, carrot, celery, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, green pepper, lentils, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, tomato
- Nuts: Almond, hazelnut, walnut
- Seeds: Sunflower
- Others: Buckwheat, honey, soy, wheat
It’s important to note that all of these foods only trigger an oral allergy reaction when they are consumed raw. If you cook them, you will denature the protein and it will become easier to digest because it is no longer distinguishable between the raw form that looks like the pollen protein that you are allergic to. (4)
I have allergies in the spring and the foods that give me problems are legumes, lentils, nuts, soy and apples. They make me very itchy but these reactions go away when the season is over.
Treatments for Tree Pollen Allergy Symptoms
First and foremost, you should consider your lifestyle to determine why you have these allergies in the first place. Severe allergies to the seasons do not exist in nature or wild animals, so this indicates that there is a root cause for your conditions.
For some, this may mean that your immune system is struggling. This may be the case for a number of reasons: unhealthy diet, exposure to toxins, an undiagnosed infection.
What Worked for Me
In my case, I had severe allergy symptoms to the Spring until my second year of college. At that point, I began to take several precautions and experiment with my body to see if I could get rid of my allergies. I did a few things that I highly recommend to any allergy sufferer:
Balanced the electrolytes of my body. American diets are extremely high in sodium and salt. This is harmful to your health because a balance of sodium and potassium is needed for healthy cell function and hydration.
I started to greatly reduce my sodium intake and took measures to get more potassium in my body and I saw a huge difference very quickly.
Cleansed my body of any possible infection. I had unexplainable symptoms and everything was pointing to my digestive system. I thought that I had a candida yeast or a parasitic infection.
A Parasite Cleanse
So, after some investigating, I purchased a parasite cleanse called Paragone by RenewLife and followed the procedures for a month and the diet as well: drinking apple cider vinegar, avoiding sugar and salt, and getting enough hydration through water and vegetables. After a month of taking the supplements and following the diet, I had noticed that my trips to the bathroom involved evacuating yeast and small segments of tapeworms.
I was very surprised and had no idea, but it made a lot of sense: an infection was suppressing my immune system and giving me health problems.
My tree pollen allergy symptoms decreased dramatically and my skin cleared up as well. I truly recommend Paragone from the bottom of my heart.
Tried to eliminate immune-suppressing foods and choices. Sugar and alcohol are very prevalent in the American lifestyle. I tried my best to limit my consumption of these foods and I felt so much better during the allergy seasons.
Fresh, raw vegetables are always the best for your body. Sugar and drugs only weigh your body’s potential down. I try to motivate myself to make good choices that will benefit my health for the long term.
If you need some extra help working on treating the root causes of your allergies, you can take drugs to mask the symptoms so that you can get through the day. It’s not recommended that you rely on them, however.
- Antihistamines like Zyrtec or Allegra prove to be very effective for allergy sufferers. They block the release of histamine in your body.
- Decongestants like pseudoephedrine will help you breathe better. Getting enough oxygen to your brain is always important.
- Nasal sprays also work to relieve inflammation and have proven to be the safest method of relieving your allergy symptoms. (5)
If you visit an allergist, you can ask for a type of immunotherapy that involves injecting a small amount of allergen into your body over the course of weeks so that your body can build up a tolerance to it. The shots will train your immune system to respond appropriately to the harmless pollen protein.
After one to three years, you may experience a cure from these allergies.
You can attempt to treat and prevent your tree pollen allergy symptoms in multiple ways.
- Use a neti pot to flush out the allergens from your sinuses.
- Use your personal favorite herbs or extracts.
- Wash clothing thoroughly of pollen.
- Use air conditioning to remove moisture from rooms.
- Use a HEPA air filter to purify the air in your home or car.
- Vacuum your home and car regularly.
I am always here for you, so if you’d like to talk or have a question, leave me a comment.