Tree Allergy

Table of Contents

Tree Allergy

Tree allergy is an allergy to one or all types of trees. People with tree allergies are allergic to pollen. Trees produce pollen that can be carried by the wind for miles. Usually, trees begin to produce pollen in the spring. Tree pollen is the most common culprit of spring allergies. However, in some areas, trees may pollinate in late winter and continue into fall. 

Tree pollen season often overlaps with grass pollen in the late spring and summer. So, individuals with an allergy to both tree and grass pollen often feel miserable outdoors during this time. Symptoms may be more severe and are triggered throughout the entire day. 

Each species of tree produces its own type of pollen. You may only be allergic to one specific type, or you might experience an allergic reaction to two, three, four, or more types of trees. Inhaling even small amounts of tree pollen can cause allergy symptoms. Since it’s almost impossible to avoid tree pollen, it’s important to know the symptoms of tree allergy and how to manage it.

Tree Allergy Symptoms

Tree allergy symptoms include

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, eyes and/or roof of mouth
  • Itchy throat

These symptoms are known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Exposure to tree pollen can also aggravate asthma symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. If you experience wheezing or other asthma symptoms but have not been diagnosed with asthma, you may have a tree allergy. 

An allergy to tree pollen can also cause you to have itching or swelling in or around your mouth when you eat certain foods. This is called oral allergy syndrome or pollen food allergy syndrome. Oral allergy syndrome affects allergic individuals who eat raw fruits and vegetables. Because certain foods are grown near pollen, it triggers an allergic reaction. Some foods that are known to be associated with oral allergy syndrome are apples, pears, carrots, and bananas.

Worst Trees for Allergies

Some of the worst trees for allergies are found across the United States and have pollen that commonly causes a reaction. These include:

  • Alder
  • Birch 
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Poplar
  • Willow

Only about 100 of the more than 50,000 tree species cause allergies. Most people with allergies are usually only allergic to one type of tree, but it’s possible to experience an allergic reaction around many types of trees. 

Tree Allergy Diagnosis

An allergy specialist, like one from NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, can diagnose an allergy to trees. The most common method of diagnosing a tree allergy is skin prick testing. Skin prick testing uses diluted amounts of allergens that are applied to the skin with tiny punctures. A positive result will show a raised bump (hive) at the localized area.

When testing for tree allergy with skin prick testing, it takes less than 20 minutes for the results to show. You may experience some itching during the test that will subside shortly. Your allergist will monitor you for more severe symptoms that may arise.

Tree Allergy Treatment

The most effective treatment for tree allergies is allergy immunology. Allergy immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a treatment in which a patient is injected with small amounts of an allergen on a regular basis. The doses are slowly increased over time, causing the patient’s immune system to become less and less sensitive to the allergen. While immunotherapy is a long process, it is more effective than antihistamines in treating tree allergies over time. Many patients do notice an improvement in allergy symptoms within six months of starting this allergy treatment.

We offer allergy shots at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers six days a week. Schedule a consultation online or call (212) 686-6321 to see if this treatment is right for you. 

For asthma-type reactions to trees, you may need an inhaler. This medication helps open up your airways and reduce wheezing. Ask one of our physicians for the best asthma medication to fit your needs.

Tree Allergy Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Be Allergic to Trees?

If you experience sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, or asthma symptoms around trees, you may be allergic to them. Visit an allergist for an allergy test to diagnose your tree allergy. 

How Is Tree Allergy Diagnosed?

An allergist, like one from NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, can diagnose a tree allergy. Most allergists use skin prick tests or blood tests. You may also need a pulmonary function test to assess your breathing to see if trees flare your asthma.

Why Are People Allergic to Trees?

Pollen from trees causes allergic reactions. Pollen grains are small enough to enter the eyes, nose, and mouth. Pollen grains also travel far in the wind which is why it seems like pollen follows you.

Is Tree Allergy Curable?

Tree allergy is not curable. However, allergy shots can significantly reduce your allergy symptoms to trees. Most patients report an improvement in symptoms around six months after getting allergy shots. Book an appointment with NY Allergy & Sinus Centers to get tree allergy treatment.

Which Trees Cause the Most Allergic Reactions?

Birch, cedar, and alder trees are some common trees that cause severe allergic reactions. Get allergy tested to determine which trees are causing your allergic reaction. 

Do Tree Pollens Cross-react Among Themselves?

Tree pollens generally do not cross-react among themselves. This means if you are allergic to one tree pollen, you are not necessarily allergic to another. Two types of trees are exempt from this rule. The first is the family which contains beech, oak, and birch. The second is the one that contains cedar and juniper. If you are allergic to one of these trees, you will likely experience symptoms in at least one tree in the same family.

What Time of Day Is Tree Pollen Highest?

The tree pollen count is generally at its highest in the morning between 5 am and 10 am. During this time, it’s best to stay indoors to avoid exposure.

How Do I Know the Pollen Count?
You can check your local pollen count here to measure how much pollen is in the air. The pollen count is usually higher during morning hours.