Springtime is Finally Here and that Means Allergies!

Thursday, April 21, 2022
Springtime is finally here, and along with the longer days and warmer temperatures comes pollen and seasonal allergies.  Trees provide one of the earliest and most productive sources of pollen, with peak pollen typically arriving between March and May.  Those allergic reactions that drive us to sniffle and sneeze are caused by proteins and glycoproteins from pollen grains which interact with affected people’s immune system.  

Among trees, there are some species that contribute to allergies much more than others.  While you may think that ornamental flowering trees like cherries or dogwoods could be to blame, trees with few or non-showy flowers actually tend to be worse, since they are more likely to have powdery wind-pollinated pollen.  Trees with this powdery pollen, such as oak, birch, ash, elm, hickory, willow, cedar, and cottonwood, tend to cause the most issues for allergy sufferers.

What can an outdoors-lover do to minimize the impact of trees on their seasonal allergies and enjoy the season tissue-free?  Beyond a visit to the allergist or taking allergy medication, there are a few other practical steps you can take:
  • Learn about which trees in your area have the most pollen and when they produce it, so you can be prepared or avoid outdoor activities during those times.  
  • If you do have outdoor plans on a high pollen day, it can help to wear a face mask.  
  • Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are high, particularly on dry windy days.  
  • Leave your shoes at the door and change clothes when you get home if you’ve been outside on a high pollen day.