If you spend your days sneezing and sniffling, the birch tree in your garden might be the cause. Over 40 species of birch trees populate the northern hemisphere, making birch trees a common, potent allergen.
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Landscapers often use white birch tree because it grows well as long as it receives adequate sunlight. Other species include the sweet birch, silver birch, yellow birch and river birch. Birch tree allergy sufferers may also be allergic to similar types like alder and hazel.
The source of birch tree allergy is the pollen the trees produce for reproduction. The wind blows the particles to a receptive tree, which enables it to produce its fruit to ensure the next generation.
Around 75 per cent of people with a birch tree allergy also possess oral allergy syndrome, which occurs when the allergy sufferer eats fruits, nuts or vegetables such as melons, zucchini and cucumbers. The foods are chemically similar to airborne allergens and cause symptoms such as redness, swelling and itching, with or without rash of lips, tongue and mouth.
According to the Auckland Allergy Clinic, "The best treatment for allergy is avoidance." Antihistamines and immunotherapy can diminish the severity of symptoms.
Birch tree allergy sufferers should remain indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the spring, when the pollen reaches its peak. Wait to spend time outdoors until afternoon or after it rains. Keep your house and car windows closed. Dry your clothes indoors to prevent allergens from sticking to the fabric.
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