Chestnut trees are in the same family as oak and beech trees, so it’s not uncommon for allergy sufferers to have cross-reactivity to these different types of pollen. Chestnut trees aren’t quite as widespread as their cousins, thanks to a disease that greatly reduced the population and stunted the growth of the trees. While chestnuts still exist, they’re not as mighty as they once were.
The pollen from chestnut trees is mildly allergenic, but it can still cause some misery for those who have chestnut tree allergies and live near these trees. For the most part, chestnut allergies will come from the European chestnut trees that have been introduced to the States, rather than the American chestnut that was ravaged by the aforementioned disease.
If you have chestnut allergies or suspect you may have them, schedule a consultation with Wyndly today to get your personalized allergy treatment plan, or keep reading to learn more about chestnut allergies.
What Is a Chestnut Tree Allergy?
A chestnut tree allergy occurs when you have an allergic reaction to chestnut tree pollen. This reaction is an immune response to a perceived threat entering your body. Despite pollen being relatively harmless, your immune system may view it as an invader, leading it to release antibodies and other chemicals, resulting in the symptoms we associate with seasonal allergies.
If you have chestnut tree allergies, there are several symptoms you may experience, including:
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Allergic rash
- Aggravated symptoms for people who have asthma
You may notice your allergy symptoms become more severe or common when the pollen count is high.
Where Are Chestnut Trees Found?
Chestnut trees can primarily be found throughout the eastern United States. They are also common in southern states and the midwest. They grow in forests, urban areas, and rural landscapes.
When Is Chestnut Pollen Allergy Season?
Chestnut pollen allergy season will vary based on where the chestnut tree is growing. For the most part, the allergy season will start sometime in March, but in southern regions, the allergy season can start later. Pollen levels will usually peak in spring, though the season can sometimes extend into the summer months as well.
Foods to Avoid
Various foods share similar proteins to the ones found in chestnut pollen. When you have chestnut allergies, you may experience an allergic reaction known as OAS after consuming these foods. OAS or oral allergy syndrome causes your mouth and throat to feel itchy or tingly after eating a chestnut-related food. Though uncomfortable, these symptoms are typically mild and will subside on their own. Here are some chestnut-related foods to be aware of:
Remember, OAS symptoms are typically mild. If you do have a severe allergic reaction after eating something, make sure to seek immediate medical attention.
Testing and Diagnosis
Chestnut pollen is not the only pollen being produced in spring. There is likely a wide variety of trees producing pollen at this time, making it highly difficult to pinpoint chestnut trees as the source. Also, chestnut pollen can be cross-reactive with several other tree pollen types. With this in mind, you can save yourself time and guesses by getting an allergy test. An allergy test will tell you if you have chestnut allergies, while potentially revealing other allergies you hadn’t considered. Wyndly makes getting your allergy test even easier by offering an at-home test. Get your at-home test from Wyndly today!
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, and 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
- Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
- 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.
- Receive your allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through your personalized 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 treat your symptoms.
Treatment and Remedies
If you do have chestnut pollen allergies, you have various options for remedies and treatment. Let’s take a look at some of the options allergy sufferers can turn to for relief.
One of the first remedies you’ll want to consider is making slight lifestyle adjustments to minimize your exposure to your primary allergens. Avoiding pollen isn’t always easy, but there are helpful methods. Here are some you might try:
- Check the daily pollen count: The pollen count tells you the concentration of pollen in the air. If the pollen count is high, your allergies are likely to intensify and your symptoms may worsen. It’s best to try and stay indoors on days like these.
- Try an N95 mask: An N95 mask is a good way to keep pollen from getting in your mouth and nose. It’s not a foolproof solution, but it’s better than not wearing one.
- Go out in the evenings: During allergy season, the evening hours will be best for outdoor time. This is when the pollen levels will be at their lowest. Pollen levels tend to peak in the early morning and afternoon hours.
- Keep chestnut branches trimmed: It’s helpful to trim chestnut tree branches in your yard, as this helps to reduce the pollen they produce overall.
- Clean the house: Make sure your home is free from pollen by cleaning frequently. The best tactics are vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum and dusting with a wet rag. Once a week during allergy season is ideal.
- Shower when you get home: Rinse the pollen off when you get home by taking a quick shower. It can also be helpful to wash your hands or face when a shower isn’t readily available.
- Close the windows: Don’t let pollen get in through open windows. Keep them closed during allergy season and run your A/C instead.
- Do laundry: Doing laundry gets the pollen off your clothes. Just make sure you don’t dry them outside.
- Take off your shoes: Remove your shoes when you get home so you don’t bring in more pollen.
- Avoid the aforementioned foods: Try to avoid the chestnut-related foods we listed.
Keeping your exposure to a minimum can be helpful, but it may not be enough when allergy season is peaking and pollen is everywhere. Further symptom management using allergy medications may be necessary. Here are some allergy med options:
Over-the-counter: These are the most common for short-term relief. Over-the-counter allergy medications are safe for most people and can be easily found at drug stores. Here are some common OTC meds you can try:
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines can manage a variety of common allergy symptoms. These are usually in pill form and can provide relief for up to 24 hours.
- Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays help to reduce stuffy and runny nose symptoms.
- Eye drops: If you have itchy or watery eyes, eye drops can be a helpful solution to get short-term relief quickly.
- Prescription: OTC allergy medications aren’t always a strong enough solution. If that’s the case, you may want to consult your doctor about going the prescription route.
While lifestyle changes and medications provide short-term relief, they’re not a long-term treatment for allergy symptoms. However, treatment does exist in the form of allergy immunotherapy. Sublingual immunotherapy is a particularly convenient solution for allergy sufferers that just requires daily drops or tablets administered under the tongue. These drops contain small doses of your allergen, helping your immune system to gradually tolerate or ignore these substances over time. Unlike allergy shots, another form of allergy immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy can be taken from home and doesn’t require the use of painful needles.
Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly
When you’re ready to find lifelong relief from your allergies instead of just managing them each season, let Wyndly help. Our doctors can create a personalized treatment plan for your chestnut pollen allergies.
Schedule your allergy consultation with Wyndly today to get started on the path to allergy relief for life!
Chestnut Tree Allergy FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions we hear about chestnut tree allergies.
Is there a place in the U.S. where chestnut trees are less common?
Chestnut trees are primarily found in the eastern and central United States. They are rarely observed on the west coast.
Are chestnut trees highly allergenic?
Chestnut trees are mildly allergenic, and the American chestnut is usually insect-pollinated, making it a less common airborne allergy.
Will I have other tree allergies if I’m allergic to chestnut trees?
While it’s possible to only be allergic to chestnut trees, there is often cross-reactivity between beech and oak pollen.
Can I just remove chestnut trees from my yard?
You may find it easier to simply trim the branches of chestnut trees, as this can also help to reduce the pollen they produce.