Well here it is almost the end of March already, wow, this month is going fast. Allergies are kicking into higher gears now. Trees start to produce pollen as early as January and while we had a cold winter in parts of the world, some places weren’t hit so badly and while we still get some cold nights, it looks like spring is almost here. Trees that produce the most allergy related symptoms are those that don’t really have a lot of flowers. The trees with the most flowers actually produce less released pollen. The pollen from the flowers is gathered up by bees, there is nothing to gather pollen on the flowerless trees so it is just scattered by wind and birds shaking it off. Tree pollen is been going on for a couple months now and still has a couple more to go, but this month also starts the grass allergy season. I have heard lots of mowers going this past week with the sun shining more and more it’s kicking up all the pollen.
March, the big kick off to more allergies
March is going to be rough with multiple allergens kicking off the season. I like this site for getting the local pollen count, please go here to find out what your area is dealing with today. The higher the count the worse day you may have. Make sure to keep a good watch on the pollen count during your allergy seasons. There are about 50,000 types of trees, but all over the web they say that only about 100 are really what cause allergies. It seems to be pretty well agreed that mountain cedar and maple are the worst trees for allergens in the US. Tree pollen is lightweight, almost powdery and dry tiny particles and they are capable of traveling great distances with the wind. Even inhaling the smallest amount can trigger a reaction. Some that are allergic to pets could also or instead actually have pollen allergies. The pets go outside to play or use the bathroom and get pollen on them and return inside. While you might not be bothered a lot outside, or just showing minor signs of allergies, once your pet comes inside to an enclosed home and gets up on your lap, your sneezing or sinus issues could be resulting in the pollen off them, not necessarily the pet themselves.
Can you be allergic to more than one??
Allergists across the web say that most people with allergies are only allergic to one type of tree, but you can experience a cross reaction to others in the same family. And most allergy tests give you a set of 3 trees that are closely related while they do the testing. A cross reaction usually occurs when protein of one that is usually a pollen reacts similar to the protein of a food. Well I tend to say that I don’t agree with that, only because I am allergic to several varieties of trees that are not in the same classification. But It is possible to be allergic to one and not another.
What are the symptoms of tree allergies?
Mountain Cedar – It’s high on everyone’s list as being a top allergen. It starts to pollinate as early as January, so I am not really sure why they still call it spring allergies, when it starts possibly producing pollen a month after winter starts. Spring this year starts on March 20th, and the trees here in Washington have been starting to show life since the middle of January. Not sure who came up with hay fever, but seems to have been that most allergies that were detected were being caused around the time that hay was getting ready to harvest. It’s not from hay and there is no fever with allergies at all. Most all “hay fever” comes from trees, grasses and weeds. Flowers don’t produce much compared to these other areas. Here are the main symptoms of tree allergies, but you can have more or less depending on the severity.
- Runny nose and mucus production
- Itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth
- Stuffy nose (nasal congestion)
- Red and watery eyes
- Swelling around the eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
So let’s look at the worst two offenders today.
So let’s look at the worst two offenders today. These would be the Mountain Cedar, which is not a cedar tree at all and the mighty Maple tree. I think everyone knows what a maple tree is.
Mountain Cedar tree family
Scientific Name Juniperus ashei
Common Name(s): English Ashe Juniper, Mexican Juniper, Mountain Cedar, Ozark White Cedar, Post Cedar, Rock Cedar or Blueberry Juniper.
Taxonomic Source Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World’s Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
The Mountain Cedar is actually part of the Juniper family. Neither Juniperus ashei nor Junipe Virginiana are actually Cedar trees Juniper trees are found throughout the US, this species is native to the central United States, but can be found elsewhere. It grows abundantly in Texas and is the major cause of allergy problems where most refer to it as cedar fever and if not taken care of can develop into pneumonia. This tree is an extremely drought tolerant evergreen and survives well in the Southern states like Mexico and Arkansas. While most shed their pollen during spring, some can start as early as mid-winter.
Here is a wonderful site that give you information about plants, their real names and information about whether they are endangered or not. It’s called the IUCN for threatened species, but gives you more than that.
Juniperus V is commonly known as Red Cedar, Eastern Red, Red juniper, Pencil Cedar, or Aromatic Cedar they are a species of Juniper native to eastern North America from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Great Plains. Further west it is replaced by the related Juniperus Scopulorum (Rocky Mountain Juniper) and to the southwest by Juniperus ashei (Ashe Juniper) People who are allergic to Ashe Juniper are also often allergic to the related Junipe. Virginiana.
These trees are also from the Cypress family and others to watch for in allergy crosses are not only what is mentioned above, but also the Sequoia, Yew, Pine and Fir trees.
Maple tree family
Scientific name: Acer
Higher classification: Sapindaceae
Maple trees are a big allergy producer and there are many varieties. Most people can’t seem to agree, but they seem to suggest between 100 and 130 different varieties of maples all on at least 5 continents, with most varieties are native to Asia. They are a deciduous tree which means that they lose their leaves each year and grow them back the following season. They can range in size from a bonsai tree which is very small to over 145 feet tall. Maples also have been known to live over 200 years and have been being tapped for their maple sap for over 150 years.
Foods to avoid with maple allergies
A lot of trees can cause a cross reaction and maples are no different; here is a list of foods to be careful with if you have allergies to maple. It is hard to find too much on foods that are a cross reactive with the maple tree except of course that of
Wrap it up for tonight
The tree itself can be used to help people, the bark has astringent properties and is used to treat sore eyes, and you can treat diarrhea, coughs, liver and spleen issues with a tea made from the bark and or the leaves. It’s also known as a health food so you have to watch out for it as a sweetener used to replace real sugar in baking, cooking and drinks.
This tree seems to be much debate on this tree, from the experts not being sure how many varieties of Maple trees there actually is, not much information on food allergens related to this tree, but they also seem to debate on whether this tree is actually part of the Sapindaceae or Soapberry family. When you leave them as a family on their own you only have the monotypic Dipteronia and the Acer family to worry about. But if you agree with others and group them with the Sapindaceae’s then you have to worry about cross contaminantes with such plants as the hopseed bush, buckeyes, Horse Chestnuts, and Balloon vine are only to name a few.
For me, just to be on the safe side I go by the broader, more species and watch for their pollinating seasons also. It’s better to be safe than sorry if you can at all avoid unnecessary suffering why not take the extra precautions. I will be adding more trees throughout the season. If I have missed anything or you would like to add something feel free to leave me a comment.