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Tree pollen allergies
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Marleybag posted:
I was just diagnosed with an array of allergies including tree pollens. One for an example is birch tree pollen. I know I am allergic to apples which come from those trees but how am not allergic to other fruits that come from that tree as well? Also, am I just allergic to the pollen and not the tree itself?
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sgbl88 responded:
Hi,

It is very common to be allergic to one specific species but not things that are considered "related". For example I am allergic to short ragweed but not tall ragweed. I am also highly allergic to mountain cedar (actually a juniper) but none of the other cedars or junipers.

Does that help?

Take care and God bless.
Sonya
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end... Ye shall seek me, and find [me]
 
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Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Marleybag!

I found Sonya's advice very helpful and also wanted to share this WebMD 3 Questions About Pollen article with you. It states that, "It's not the type of pollen per se -- trees, grass, and weeds can all cause a pollen allergy. Rather, it depends in part on where someone lives and how long the growing season is there."

Here is the Pollen Survival Guide to help you minimize your misery.

Best of luck!
Amelia
The difference between an itch and an allergy is about one hundred bucks. - Anonymous
 
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Brian P Vickery, MD responded:
Hi Marleybag:

You are not allergic to trees -- only the pollen that the tree releases as part of its normal reproductive cycle. This typically happens in the springtime around April; depending on where you live, it could start as early as February as it does here in the South. There are plenty of pollen counts available online so that you can track what's going on in your area.

Regarding the apple problem, if a raw apple makes your mouth itch, then more than likely you are not allergic to apples themselves. Your body responds to birch pollen, and apples are among many fruits & vegetables that contain proteins that are highly similar in structure to birch. These are called Bet v 1 - related proteins (the major birch pollen allergen is called Bet v 1). Much is being learned about this phenomenon as researchers are working with sophisticated tools to try to uncover what makes a given protein allergenic.

In summary, this is not really an allergy to apples likely. It is a well-known form of cross-reactivity called Oral Allergy Syndrome, or Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome (http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/outdoor-allergies-and-food-allergies-can-be-relate.aspx). The antibodies in your mouth and throat think that apple is a birch pollen! This could also happen with peaches, cherries, celery, carrot, and others. Importantly, if the fruit or veg is peeled or cooked, a reaction is much less likely since most of the proteins are in the skin and are susceptible to heating.

Hope this helps & good luck-
Brian


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