Facts, Prevention, and Relief for Birch Allergies

Updated
Updated

Tree allergies can cause issues for a lot of people, and birch trees can be a major contributor to these allergies. Birch trees are noted for their white and sometimes multi-colored bark. These timber trees are fast-growing and typically immune to disease and insects. Birch trees are often found in the Northern Hemisphere, as they prefer cooler climates.

There are 16 species of birch that are native to North America. Birch trees are wind-pollinating plants, and pollen count can vary year to year based on a number of factors. A single birch tree can produce up to 5 million pollen grains, and the wind will then carry these up to 100 yards. But regardless of the pollen count in the air, Wyndly can help you find relief for your birch allergies.

Set up a consultation with Wyndly, or keep reading to learn more about birch allergies.

Common Symptoms

Although birch allergies can affect each allergy sufferer slightly differently, there are common symptoms that can help you diagnose a birch allergy. Birch allergies are seasonal, so keep an eye out for the following symptoms if you suspect you’re allergic to birch pollen:

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Scratchy throat
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Allergic rash
  • Aggravated symptoms if you have asthma

Allergy symptoms can get especially bad if the pollen count is high. While you might be able to correlate the pollen count with your symptoms, it’s worthwhile to get tested to confirm you have a birch allergy. This can help you treat your allergies more accurately and reveal allergens you might not be aware you have.

Where Is Birch Found?

Birch can be found all over the northern and eastern parts of the United States. It can also be found in Canada. Birch trees are particularly widespread in Europe and Asia, where 53 species can be found.

As we mentioned, birch trees prefer to grow in cool climates. Birch pollen doesn’t have much trouble traveling on the wind, so if you live in areas where birch trees grow, it’s likely that you’ll be exposed to their pollen.

When Is Birch Pollen Allergy Season?

Birch pollen allergy season is typically in the spring. It will usually begin as early as January and go into April. Once spring actually begins, that’s when the pollen count tends to peak and cause allergy sufferers the worst symptoms.

If you’re allergic to birch and you notice that the pollen count is particularly high, it’s a good idea to limit your exposure and take measures to reduce your allergy symptoms.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods have proteins that are similar to the proteins in birch pollen. This can lead to your immune system being unable to differentiate between the food and the pollen, triggering an allergic reaction.

Here are some of the foods that can contain similar proteins to birch pollen:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Hazelnuts
  • Kiwis
  • Peaches
  • Peanuts
  • Pears
  • Soybeans

When you consume these foods, you’ll know you have an allergy to them if your mouth begins to itch or tingle. Nuts can be especially dangerous, as they can cause anaphylaxis. You should contact a doctor if you have symptoms that cause a reaction to any food, but it’s especially important to seek care if it’s a nut reaction.

Testing and Diagnosis

While birch allergies are common, it can sometimes be difficult to narrow down which allergens are causing your symptoms. Often grass, weed, and tree allergy seasons will intersect, so there can be a variety of airborne allergens in your area at any given time. With allergy testing, you can find out what specifically you’re allergic to. This will allow you to treat your allergies more easily and avoid your triggers.

If you’re wanting to get an allergy test done, an at-home blood allergy test is the easiest and most convenient method.

Here’s how different allergy testing options work:

Old-Fashioned Method: Skin Prick Test at Your Doctor’s Office

Skin prick testing requires you to go to the doctor to find out your allergen triggers. It’s often uncomfortable, and it takes time out of your day. You’ll go to the doctor’s office, they’ll administer a test where they prick or scrape your skin with a needle tipped with different allergens, and then they’ll observe the areas they pricked for itchiness, redness, or swelling. All in all, it’s not a pleasant experience. Instead, you can save yourself time and pain by getting an at-home test.

Modern and Efficient At-Home Method

  1. Get Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
  2. Take the allergy test and send it back to us. Just do a quick finger prick test to provide us with a blood sample and mail it back when you’re done.
  3. Receive your personal allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through a treatment plan.

Unlike self-diagnosis, an allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way you know exactly what you’re allergic to and how you can fix your allergies.

Treatment and Remedies

Fortunately, if you have a birch allergy, there are plenty of treatment options. Following are some things you can do to relieve your birch allergy symptoms.

Limiting Exposure

When allergy season rolls around, you’ll want to make sure to limit your exposure to birch pollen. While it’s not going to be possible to avoid birch pollen altogether, there are still some steps you can take, such as:

  • Check the pollen count: There are plenty of apps and websites that can show you your local birch pollen levels. If you see the pollen count is high for the day, try to stay inside as much as possible.
  • Remove birch from your yard: If you have birch trees in your yard, you can prune their branches to prevent the spread of pollen. Alternatively, you can replace your birch trees altogether.
  • Keep your house and clothes clean: One way or another, birch pollen is most likely going to get into your home. During peak birch season, you should clean your home more often to keep pollen to a minimum. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove it from the floors in your home. Make sure to wash your clothes and bedding often too.
  • Shower: If you’ve been outside for a long period, make sure to wash your hair and body well to get rid of any residual pollen you may have picked up.
  • Use a HEPA filter: Using a HEPA filter or a dehumidifier can help keep your air clean and clear.
  • Keep windows closed: Leaving your windows open can let pollen in. Make sure to keep windows closed if possible, especially on windy days or days with high pollen count.
  • Avoid the aforementioned foods: Try to avoid the foods we listed above.

Limiting exposure is always a good idea, and it can help manage symptoms. But often you’ll need to do more than that. There are other treatments you may need to pursue.

Medications

There are several allergy medication options that can help you manage symptoms and find relief during birch allergy season.

  • Over-the-counter: Over-the-counter allergy medications are very common. They typically will consist of antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Let’s take a quick look at each.
    • Antihistamines: Antihistamines work to block histamine, which causes your body to react to allergens with allergic symptoms.
    • Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays reduce swelling and inflammation in your nasal passages. This is a good option if you tend to have symptoms like a runny nose and congestion.
    • Eye drops: If you have itchy or watery eyes, allergy eye drops can help flush pollen out of your eyes and relieve those symptoms.
  • Prescription: If over-the-counter medications aren’t doing the job, then prescription medications may be the next step. Talk to your doctor or allergist to find out more.

When lifestyle changes and medications aren’t providing you with enough relief, immunotherapy can be a great next step.

Sublingual Immunotherapy Allergy Drops

Sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy that retrains your body to stop reacting to the allergens that cause your allergy symptoms. A small, incrementally increasing amount of the allergen is administered under the tongue in the form of liquid allergy drops. This will reduce your symptoms over time and lead to long-term allergy relief.

Sublingual allergy drop immunotherapy is used across the United States, and Wyndly makes allergy drops accessible and convenient to use. 

Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly

If you’re ready to find long-term relief from your allergies, let Wyndly help. Using Wyndly, you won’t have to deal with allergy medications or doctor’s visits. We make allergy treatment simple and convenient.

With our at-home allergy test, we can create a personalized treatment plan designed to help you find relief. If you’re a candidate for at-home sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops, we can send those to you too. Wyndly doctors are ready to make you a personalized treatment plan to give you an allergy-free life.

Birch Allergy FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions we hear about birch allergies.

Where in the U.S. are birch trees uncommon?

If you’re in warmer climates, you’re less likely to have birch trees in your area. Birch trees are unlikely to be found in southern and southwestern states, certain areas of the Midwest, and certain areas of the western United States.

Are birch allergies deadly?

Birch allergies are highly unlikely to be deadly and often just trigger a response from the immune system. However, an allergy to nuts, which are birch-related foods, can be deadly.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself from pollen?

A mask can help you on days with a high pollen count. If you have an N95 mask, this will be particularly effective.

Will removing birch trees from my yard help?

Birch tree pollen can travel up to 100 yards. So as long as you’re able to remove trees within this vicinity, it can cut down on your at-home exposure.

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