If you’ve found yourself feeling a little itchy and prickly recently, you may have started to wonder whether it’s possible to be allergic to a pine tree. Can pine trees cause allergies?
Pine trees can cause allergies. The pollen, sap, and nuts can all cause an allergic reaction, and sometimes a very serious one. Not many people are allergic to pine trees, but it’s certainly possible to have a pine tree allergy.
Let’s find out a bit more about how pine tree allergies work and what you should do if you think you are allergic to these trees.
Can Pine Trees Cause Allergies?
Pine trees certainly can cause allergies, although not many people are allergic to them and a reaction is relatively uncommon. However, some people are allergic to various parts of these trees, including:
- The sap
- The pollen
- The nuts
If you are allergic to the sap of pine trees, you may find that you cannot handle them, especially if they have been damaged. Even minor physical contact may cause irritation, especially if you have a severe allergy or any cuts on your skin.
Pollen allergies can create a reaction even without contact because pollen goes into the air and disperses. People who are allergic to pine pollen are also very likely to be allergic to grass pollen and may suffer from allergies to other plant pollen too. Pine tree pollen tends to be heavy, which means it doesn’t stay in the air for too long, but it can still cause allergies.
If you are allergic to nuts, you need to be careful about what you eat, and not consume any contaminated foods. Some people do successfully overcome pine nut allergies, but this is rare and like other tree nut allergies, the reaction can be severe. You will need advice from a specialist if you’re going to try to overcome a pine nut allergy.
What Reaction Can This Allergy Cause?
An allergic reaction can cause any of the following symptoms:
- Red skin
- An itchy throat
- Hives or rashes
- Chest tightness
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart failure
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Abdominal pain
- Dark circles under the eyes
The reaction can majorly vary in its severity, but a bad reaction can be serious enough to cause anaphylactic shock and death. If you have a pine tree allergy, take it seriously and do not attempt to handle pine trees or things like pine nuts.
If you are reacting to pine in any form, you should follow up with a doctor, or seek emergency treatment if the reaction is severe. Do not wait for the symptoms to worsen. If you know you are going to be exposed to pine and you have an existing allergy, talk to your doctor about treatments and precautions beforehand.
Can You Be Allergic To A Christmas Tree?
Yes, you can be allergic to a Christmas tree, and many people find that they suffer from symptoms like hay fever in the winter because they have a Christmas tree. Symptoms can also be similar to those associated with the common cold, which leads to many people misdiagnosing the cause of their sneezing and runny nose.
If you have a Christmas tree indoors for the winter and you are suffering from allergy symptoms, you may wish to discuss this with your doctor. Your Christmas tree is not likely to be actively producing pollen in winter, but it may still have pollen on its branches, and it’s easy for this to get dispersed into the air as the tree is moved and decorated.
Christmas trees can also be a source of other allergens, including mold spores and dust mites, due to the way that they are stored and handled. If you are going to have a real tree, be aware of this potential issue and take steps to protect yourself, such as washing the tree before bringing it indoors.
If in doubt, contact an allergist or another medical professional to get confirmation about whether your symptoms are triggered by allergies or seasonal illnesses. You might also want to wear gloves and long sleeves while handling your tree and change clothes after you have finished.
How Many People Are Allergic To Pine Trees?
Estimates vary, and many people are unaware of their allergy and put the symptoms down to other causes, but it’s thought that around 7 percent of the population could be allergic to pine trees. Whether it’s the sap, the pollen, or the nuts, it’s best to treat these trees with some caution so you can avoid reacting to them.
Some people prefer to use an artificial Christmas tree, but it should be noted that this will not necessarily solve problems with mold allergens. If you store the tree in your garage or attic and it gets damp in between Christmases, it may still present a hazard, even though it’s artificial. Make sure you wash the tree before using it and store it somewhere dry.
If you have a pine tree in your garden, you can take precautions by having somebody else do any trimming or pruning, and avoid handling the needles so you don’t get the sap on your skin.
In general, a pollen allergy will only be triggered if you stand close to the tree, as the pollen is heavy and doesn’t spread much through the air. Stay away from the tree, particularly when it is flowering, and you should be able to minimize the risk of an allergy being triggered.
Pine trees can cause allergies, and many people do not realize that their Christmas tree could be triggering a reaction. If you are going to bring a Christmas tree into your home, it’s a good idea to wash it first to remove pollen remnants, dust, and mold spores.
You should also wear gloves while handling the tree if it causes skin irritation, and seek medical help if you do get a reaction.