Home > Causes > Tree Pollen

Tree Pollen

By: Sharon Edge - Updated: 29 Mar 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Tree Pollen hayfever grass Pollen

Tree pollen and Hay Fever

For most people in the UK grass pollen is the key trigger for their hay fever. But if you tend to get hay fever symptoms earlier in the year than other people, it could well be that you’re one of a significant number of people who are allergic to tree pollen. About 20% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to tree pollen.

Trees most likely to Cause Hay Fever

In the UK, the trees most likely to release pollen that causes hay fever are birch, alder, hazel and horse chestnut. If you’re allergic to tree pollen, you will probably find that your symptoms are at their worst between March and May.

Birch tree Pollen

The birch tree releases its pollen between March and May, and hay fever sufferers are likely to experience the worst of their symptoms during April. Birch tree pollen counts will be at their highest on dry, warm days, especially if there’s a breeze over areas wooded with birch trees. If you are allergic to birch pollen, you may also react to celery, raw tomato, raw carrots, apples and pears. Once the birch tree pollen season is over, the oak tree pollen season begins. This is usually towards the end of April and early May. More people are allergic to birch pollen rather than oak pollen.

Early season Hay Fever

The birch tree is not the only culprit for causing the symptoms of hay fever. If your hay fever begins really early in the year – perhaps as early as January – it could be that you’re allergic to the pollen of another type of tree. The hazel, elm, alder and yew are all capable of causing hay fever in some people, and can release pollen very early in the year.

Managing Tree Pollen Allergy

Regardless of whether you are allergic to grass pollen or to tree pollen, all the same tactics apply for managing your hay fever symptoms. Make sure you know the time of year that your trigger pollen is released into the air. Keep an eye on the pollen count and try to stay inside on the worst days. If you must go outside, keep the car windows closed and wear wraparound sunglasses. Of course, you can also talk to your doctor, pharmacist or allergy specialist about ways to manage the worst symptoms of your hay fever.

Finding what Works for you

Whether or not you are allergic to tree or to grass pollen is fairly unlikely to have an impact on the treatment you take to relieve your hay fever symptoms. But it can be useful to consider whether it’s tree pollen that’s to blame for your hay fever, if only to get a clearer picture of when during the year you’re most likely to have problems. Not only will you be able to make more educated decisions on when to take medication, but you might also be able to plan some key major events, like your wedding or a family holiday, at a time when the birch tree is not sending its pollen up into the air.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I have been effected by tree pollen for years and so I know the signs. This year highlights the confusion for those who do not know about tree pollen and expect it to be something else. A summer cold is a normal excuse. This year it might be the virus!!
Andrew - 29-Mar-20 @ 8:28 PM
I forgot to add, I get these symptoms in the house too. Apologies for the typing issues in my earlier post.I am typing this from an I phone. Paul
Paul - 22-Mar-20 @ 9:14 PM
Hi all, I have enjoyed reading your comments. With interest.We have a very large oak near to the front of the property, a very large tree outside of, which looks to be a sycamore and some trees to the side of the. house, all of which are bare.In the garden we have pines.Could these be causing issues now?I keep getting warm eyes, having to clear my throat, stuffy congested nose and clear running when I eat or go outside.I also get post nasal drip and a sore throat from time to time.The dog even coughs, sneezes and has a runny nose.He gets this best part of theyear and the vet has said it’s probably an allergy.Just wondering and would appreciate your advice.Thanks
Paul - 22-Mar-20 @ 9:10 PM
My husband has a dry tickly cough and with the COVID 19 we are self isolating. I have post nasal drip, so constantly swallowing, a fullness in my head, a heavy chest and have had this in previous years and never considered it to be hayfever. Reading some of the comments I suddenly realise thats what it is. Today I have had all windows closed and it has helped but we went out this afternoon to walk the dog up a path by Hawthorne/May trees and my chest is tight, catarrh is back, tickly cough starting. The flowers are numerous and I have never seen them like this, I actually suddenly felt really unwell when we were out. Its all very strange, I am also peri menopausal and have experienced a lot of food allergies too.
Andrea - 21-Mar-20 @ 5:56 PM
I also suffer with tree pollen allergy. You need to modify your diet. Food and drink are a massive contributor to your body's histamine levels. Basically you need to lower the histamine level in your body to try and offset the histamine your body generates in response to the pollen. It will help. Research which foods you should avoid but basically things like alcohol, chocolate, preserved meats (sausages, bacon etc), cheeses. Also drink lots of 3 ginger tea! (ginger is a natural anti-histamine) Helps me.
Strontium - 16-Mar-20 @ 10:47 AM
pgm - I am in the same boat.Always suffered from hay fever, but usually just itchy eyes and the tiredness.Last year in March the tree pollen made me short of breath and flared up my asthma. I have had a tight chest for the past week or so and it feels exactly the same as last year so I am assuming it's the tree pollen again.I will be calling the doctor to see if I need to use the orange preventer inhaler again for a few weeks.I am only experiencing shortness of breath so am inclined to think it is the pollen.Keep safe. x
kmac - 15-Mar-20 @ 3:39 PM
I usually get tree pollen allergy between late March and end of May. This year it has started early with itchy throat and eyes and a tendency to cough. The dilemma this year is the corona virus epidemic which leads to the question - is it the virus or pollen allergy? I am considering self-isolating as a precaution for protection of others. Does anyone else face this dilemma?
Pgm - 13-Mar-20 @ 8:09 AM
My son now 13 suffered from really bad tree and grass pollen induced hayfever and also Asthma. He is now in the second year of self funded oral sublingual desensitization therapy for tree pollen and IT MAKES SUCH A DIFFERENCE. I can only recommend it to everyone. It is not funded for children in the UK but try if you can. He has now no Asthma or Hayfever in early spring anymore. We started grass pollen desen. last year and it started to work already. Try to educate yourself and urge your GP to refer you to an allergy clinic. The effects are said to be lasting longer than you take the treatment.
Lilo - 23-Feb-20 @ 5:50 PM
Last year suggested with hay fever for first time. I sneeze a lot and get really itchy ears and sometimes itchy eyes. When it gets really bad also effects my breathing. Went to doctors and they said it wasn't hay fever as never heard of itchy ears with hay fever but couldn't say what it was. But as the pollen reduced, so did the symptoms. Last year started about March but has already started this year and it's only February. Do have a lovely big birch tree in the garden which I think it's probably the culprit.
Amy - 8-Feb-20 @ 9:44 AM
I get itchy and swollen eyelids every time I open a window facing a 20ft Hawthorne hedge. Extremely bad between June and September. Trouble is that window creates a breeze through the apartment. I am trying to get the estate management company to cut it down to no avail.
John - 3-Aug-19 @ 10:15 AM
I’ve suffered from stuffy nose and dreadful aches during the summer months, for years. After walking, being in the countryside, even in late summer, feel like i’ve been kicked by a horse, and general foggy malaise. Not sure what it is i’m allergic to, butit’s pretty grim.
Freddie - 7-Jul-19 @ 12:14 PM
I use natural nasal barriers and they have worked extremely well but I still feel I could do with another treatment. Is there anything you could recommend?
Mr.Max - 10-Jun-19 @ 8:49 PM
I suffer from silent migraines and have only just made a possible connection to birch tree pollen.I’m worst from end Mar to end May with weekly migraines.Where I work is surrounded by birch trees ??
Cazhug - 5-Jun-19 @ 7:57 AM
I find the May makes me extremely Ill. Its flowers are so pungent they stink. It's a beautiful tree especially when it's in full blossom but there's no way of getting away from it on the Isle of Man, its everywhere. My worst nightmare for hayfever. Anyone else have a reaction to this tree. The Hawthorne.
Gayegaye - 23-May-19 @ 5:46 PM
I get extremely itchy eyes from mid January to April. No other symptoms . This has been going on for years and no one seems able to help
rathers - 14-Feb-19 @ 7:15 AM
AngieB - Your Question:
I’ve only just made the link between my symptoms and a possible pollen allergy. I’ve been having itchy skin since March with intermittent watery eyes, runny nose etc. I read your article about the cross reaction with certain foods and as I eat apples or bananas daily and regularly eat veg like carrots and parsnips I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a birch pollen. Would the itchy face and scalp relate to this?

Our Response:
We really don't know, there are so many different things involved with allergies. The easiest thing to do would be to ask your doctor if you can be referred for further testing.
HayfeverExpert - 3-Jul-18 @ 3:30 PM
I’ve only just made the link between my symptoms and a possible pollen allergy. I’ve been having itchy skin since March with intermittent watery eyes, runny nose etc. I read your article about the cross reaction with certain foods and as i eat apples or bananas daily and regularly eat veg like carrots and parsnips I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a birch pollen. Would the itchy face and scalp relate to this?
AngieB - 30-Jun-18 @ 12:11 PM
Just like Joonhen my symptoms (tree pollen) are worse in the morning (I sometimes wake and start sneezing) and peter out during the day, as does my work colleague's symptoms. My symptoms can start at the end of January, though normally Feb, and can last into May or early June. Normally the symptoms come on slowly as the pollen level slowly rises and are controllable with Beconase and reduce as my body's immune system becomes used to the pollen. This year the pollen has exploded in April (no symptoms before this) I have been severely affected and have even has some mild Asthma problems. It is frustrating there is so little information about tree pollen.
Simple Simon - 20-Apr-18 @ 12:27 PM
Chris - Your Question:
My allergy is at its worst from early July sometimes until mid September. I am convinced it is an allergy to trees. My street is lined with numerous lime trees, which I have read, pollinate late May to July. They also exude a rather sticky sap during this time. Any suggestions as to alleviation of very itchy, sore and watery eyes and running nose. Also is there anything else that may cause this. I am not allergic to grasses etc.

Our Response:
It may be weed pollen that's triggering your hay fever symptoms. Weed pollen tends to be more prevalent from June to September. Your doctor might be able to diagnose this more specifically with a specific allergy test.
HayfeverExpert - 4-Aug-17 @ 10:49 AM
My allergy is at its worst from early July sometimes until mid September. I am convinced it is an allergy to trees. My street is lined with numerous lime trees, which I have read, pollinate late May to July. They also exude a rather sticky sap during this time. Any suggestions as to alleviation of very itchy, sore and watery eyes and running nose. Also is there anything else that may cause this. I am not allergic to grasses etc.
Chris - 1-Aug-17 @ 4:27 PM
I have read somewhere that tree pollen is more active in the mornings up to 10 ..11am is this true as my symptoms do improve as day goes on
Joonhen - 8-Apr-17 @ 8:35 AM
From the End of February for approx 8 weeks Tree Pollen is unpleasant and causes Asthma, Blocked nose and constant watering & itchy eyes. For myself it is just a case of getting through this time of year. Grass Pollen is not a big problem at all, its just the tree Pollen and I love trees. Just wish they would keep their Pollen to themselves LOL.
jono - 12-Mar-17 @ 11:24 AM
Great article. I only started to get Hayfever symptoms a several years ago and I am in my forties. It starts in mid/late March and only improves during May, so definitely Tree pollen which is useful to know.
Duddy - 6-May-16 @ 3:30 PM
I have suffered with sneezing & a really itchy & sore rash on my neck for the last three April's this must be tree pollen & lasts about 4 weeks - I am ok in the summer - interesting article
Charliex - 2-May-16 @ 11:56 PM
I tried putting cotton wool up each nostril when i walked the dog up the forestry today..and up to now it seems to have helped. PS...I am only allergic to tree pollen.
taz - 6-May-13 @ 8:32 AM
I wear a snood and wrap around clear glasses, helps loads, (though you do get weird stares)though on sunny days I find it best to stay in. It gives me the worse tooth ache in the whole of my mouth=Ouch the agony of throbbing gums.: (
YEWLANDSKID - 28-Mar-12 @ 11:38 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Andrew
    Re: Tree Pollen
    I have been effected by tree pollen for years and so I know the signs. This year highlights the confusion for those who do not know about tree pollen…
    29 March 2020
  • Paul
    Re: Tree Pollen
    I forgot to add, I get these symptoms in the house too. Apologies for the typing issues in my earlier post. I am typing this from an I phone. Paul
    22 March 2020
  • Paul
    Re: Tree Pollen
    Hi all, I have enjoyed reading your comments. With interest. We have a very large oak near to the front of the property, a very large tree outside of,…
    22 March 2020
  • Andrea
    Re: Tree Pollen
    My husband has a dry tickly cough and with the COVID 19 we are self isolating. I have post nasal drip, so constantly swallowing, a fullness in my head,…
    21 March 2020
  • Strontium
    Re: Tree Pollen
    I also suffer with tree pollen allergy. You need to modify your diet. Food and drink are a massive contributor to your body's histamine levels.…
    16 March 2020
  • kmac
    Re: Tree Pollen
    pgm - I am in the same boat. Always suffered from hay fever, but usually just itchy eyes and the tiredness. Last year in March the tree pollen made me…
    15 March 2020
  • Pgm
    Re: Tree Pollen
    I usually get tree pollen allergy between late March and end of May. This year it has started early with itchy throat and eyes and a tendency to cough.…
    13 March 2020
  • satya
    Re: Hayfever Eye Care
    since last 3 years have developed pollen allergy, red tomatto red eyes ,running nose and what not, i stay in india gujarat and dont know how to…
    2 March 2020
  • Lilo
    Re: Tree Pollen
    My son now 13 suffered from really bad tree and grass pollen induced hayfever and also Asthma. He is now in the second year of self funded oral…
    23 February 2020
  • Amy
    Re: Tree Pollen
    Last year suggested with hay fever for first time. I sneeze a lot and get really itchy ears and sometimes itchy eyes. When it gets really bad also…
    8 February 2020