Pine tree & pollen allergies

Written by brenda priddy
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Pine tree & pollen allergies
Some people suffer from pine-related allergies. (pine-tree image by Filip Pivarci from Fotolia.com)

Pine allergies cause typical allergy symptoms in many people. Pine may cause a runny nose, stuffy head or itchy eyes. There are two main causes of pine allergies. One allergy is caused by pine pollen or another area of the pine. The other allergy is not caused by the pine itself but is an allergy to mould present on a pine tree.

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Description

Pine tree allergies are caused by two different irritants. The most common irritant is the allergy to small spores of mould that develop on the bark of the tree. This allergy is most apparent during winter, when pine trees are brought indoors. The habit of watering cut trees creates the ideal environment for mould spores to grow. The second irritant and cause of allergies is an allergy to the pine itself, either the smell, needles, sap, pollen or bark. This allergy is much rarer.

Misconceptions

Many people who believe they are allergic to the pine, are actually allergic to the mould spores that the tree can harbour in wet conditions. The easiest way to determine whether a person is allergic to pine or the mould is to consult with a doctor. The symptoms of a true pine allergy and the mould allergy are nearly identical, so it can be extremely difficult to identify the real allergy.

Pine Pollen

Pine pollen allergy symptoms generally appear in spring. Spring is when pine trees produce most of their pollen, and it is the pollen that triggers most pine allergies. However, pine pollen is heavy, and it falls straight down, which prevents it from floating through the air and irritating the nose and eyes. If you do not seem to be bothered by pine during spring but are bothered by it at other times of the year, then it is likely that you are allergic to the mould and not the pine itself.

Mold Spores

Mold spores gather in the bark and needles of a pine tree during wet conditions. This can occur in any season, but it is most noticeable during winter, when a large portion of pine trees are brought indoors and into stores. Mold growth is encouraged by the frequent watering that cut pine trees receive to keep them green throughout the holiday season.

Prevention

Both kinds of pine allergies are easy to prevent. If a mould allergy is present, do not use a fresh pine tree in your home. Use artificial trees to alleviate most allergy symptoms. In spring, keep indoors as much as possible, and try to stay away from large groupings of pine trees.

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