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Early tree pollens are the main early springtime allergen

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

While the first day of spring doesn’t arrive until March 20, by February tree pollens are already beginning to float through the mid-winter air. One of the most prevalent pollens at that time of year comes from the hazelnut tree but there is also substantial pollen present from cypress and alder trees.

In most parts of the continent, tree pollen season lasts from March until May, but in the south and east, due to warmer winter temperatures, the tree pollen season starts as early as February and can last until June. As can be seen in the charts, there is an explosion of tree pollen for these three tree pollens that begins in early January and reaches most regions of Europe by early February.

A pollen allergy is seasonal, so knowing when specific pollens will be at their peak can be helpful in treating and avoiding reactions. These early season pollens differ from other varieties (willow, elm, birch, and ash) that are at their peak in releasing pollen during March and April.

Many trees are primarily pollinated by wind, and tree pollens are the main early springtime allergen. Mold spores also contribute to spring allergies but are typically more bothersome in the autumn months. There is limited cross-reactivity between tree pollens. This means that while some trees are related and pollens are somewhat similar, many tree pollens have unique features that prevent the ability to create a single treatment for tree pollen allergy. For this reason, allergists test sensitized patients for multiple different tree pollens and subsequently treat each patient uniquely for their specific tree pollen allergies.

For early spring allergy sufferers, the joys of warmer weather, birds chirping and flowers blooming therefore come at a price. Bothersome nose and eye symptoms, breathing difficulties and skin allergies can set in as trees begin to pollinate and because pollen is microscopic, we cannot see it in the air so it is not always clear when the season has begun until the onset of allergic symptoms.

If you or a loved one have underlying allergies while exploring the explosion of the spring season, consult with your local allergist to discuss if testing may be appropriate. An allergist can offer you the best care suited for your case and will identify the real triggers of your allergies.

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Available tests on NOVEOS:

Whole Allergen extract:

Gray Alder | Alnus incana | T002

Common Silver Birch | Betula verrucosa | T003

Hazelnut Tree | Corylus avellana | T004

American Beech | Fagus grandifolia | T005

Mountain Juniper | Juniper sabinoides | T006

Oak | Quercus alba | T007

Elm | Ulmus americana | T008

Olive Tree | Olea europaea | T009

Walnut | Juglans californica | T010

Maple Leaf Sycamore, London Plane | Platanus acerifolia | T011

Cottonwood Tree | Populus deltoides | T014

White Ash | Fraxinus americana | T015

Pecan, Hickory | Carya illinoinensis | T022

Mediterranean Cypress | Cupressus sempervirens | T023

European Ash | Fraxinus excelsior | T025

Acacia, Silver Wattle | Acacia dealbata | T026

White Birch | Betula populifolia | T030

White Hickory | Carya tomentosa | T041

Sycamore | Platanus occidentalis | T061

Virginia Live Oak | Quercus virginiana | T218

Allergen Components:

Bet v 1, PR-10, Birch | T215

Bet v 2, Profilin, Birch | T216

Bet v 4, Birch | T220

Bet v 2, Bet v 4, Birch | T221

Ole e 1, Olive | T224

Bet v 6, Birch | T225

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