While many people might be familiar with walnut allergies, you may not know that you can be allergic to the pollen from the trees that produce them. Walnut trees are widespread throughout most of the United States and can produce large amounts of pollen every year. Thanks to the light, wind-blown pollen, it can be hard to avoid walnut pollen once allergy season comes around.
If you have walnut pollen allergies, Wyndly can help you find relief. Schedule a consultation with Wyndly today to get started, and read on to learn more about walnut tree allergies.
What Is a Walnut Tree Allergy?
A walnut tree allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to the pollen produced by a walnut tree — not to be confused with a walnut allergy, which is the edible seed that is produced by walnut trees. If you’re allergic to walnut pollen, your immune system attacks any pollen that gets into your body with antibodies, histamine, and other chemicals. This causes allergy symptoms.
Everyone’s seasonal allergies will vary in severity, but there are various common symptoms that you can expect if you have walnut tree allergies.
Here are some of the most common walnut tree allergy symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Allergic rash
- Aggravated symptoms if you have asthma
If the pollen count is high or if it’s allergy season, you can expect your walnut tree allergies to be worse.
Where Are Walnut Trees Found?
Walnut trees can be found in most of the U.S., but they can be especially problematic for allergy sufferers in California and Oregon. These states produce a lot of walnuts in nut orchards, so the high concentration of trees in these areas can cause problems for nearby allergy sufferers. There are many different species of walnut trees in the U.S., with black walnut, Southern California walnut, and English walnut being common causes of allergy symptoms.
When Is Walnut Pollen Allergy Season?
As with many trees, spring is when walnut pollen season will be at its worst. For most states, you can expect walnut tree allergy season to start around February and taper off in late May or early June. Depending on the climate and elevation, some species may start producing pollen as early as January. Typically, the season will peak in March, April, and May.
Foods to Avoid
If you have walnut tree allergies, you may also be allergic to proteins found in certain foods. These proteins are very similar to the proteins found in walnut tree pollen, so they may trigger an immune response known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Oral allergy syndrome symptoms are typically mild and will usually go away on their own. OAS symptoms usually consist of an itchy or tingly throat and mouth after consuming the cross-reactive foods.
Here are some foods to watch out for if you have walnut pollen allergies:
If you have an allergic reaction to food that causes you to have trouble breathing or shortness of breath, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Testing and Diagnosis
If you have seasonal allergies, it can be difficult to determine the root cause. During allergy season, a variety of trees, weeds, and grass are producing pollen. There are also indoor allergies to consider year-round. Even if you can figure out if you’re allergic to walnut pollen, there may be other allergens you don’t know about. It’s best to get an allergy test to find out for sure. Wyndly makes allergy testing convenient with our at-home allergy test. Buy your at-home allergy test from Wyndly today to find out your allergy profile.
Let’s explore 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 personal 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
There are various remedies for walnut tree allergies. There are even options for treatment. Here are some steps you can take to manage or treat your walnut pollen allergies.
Limiting your exposure can help reduce your allergy symptoms. While it can be difficult to avoid pollen altogether during allergy season, there are several measures you can try.
- Look at the pollen count: Check the pollen count every morning during allergy season. If the pollen count is high, try to stay inside that day. If you go outside, you can wear an N95 mask to reduce the amount of pollen you breathe in.
- Take more showers: A shower at the end of the day can rinse off pollen that sticks to your skin and hair. You can also wash your hands and face well as a quick alternative.
- Keep the house extra clean: Vacuum the floors frequently with a HEPA filter vacuum and dust off hard surfaces with a wet rag to remove pollen from your home.
- Try a HEPA filter: A HEPA filter and a dehumidifier can help reduce the pollen levels in your home.
- Take off your shoes: Be sure to remove your shoes when you get home so you don’t track in pollen.
- Do laundry: Pollen sticks to clothes too, so try to do laundry more often during allergy season. Also, make sure to wash your bedding frequently.
- Close the windows: Do your best to keep pollen from getting in through the windows, and run your A/C during allergy season instead.
- Avoid the aforementioned foods: Don’t forget to avoid walnut tree-related foods.
While limiting your exposure can be helpful, it may not provide you with the relief you need when allergy season is peaking. Many people use allergy medication for additional support.
Here are some good options:
Over-the-counter: Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications are what most people use. These medications are widely available and are effective for providing relief from most common symptoms.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines temporarily inhibit your body’s histamine response, providing short-term relief from most symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages, providing relief from stuffy and runny nose symptoms.
- Eye drops: Itchy and watery eye symptoms can sometimes be relieved with eye drops, which flush pollen and other allergens out of your eyes.
- Prescription: If OTC allergy medications aren’t helping with your symptoms, you may want to consider prescription medications. You’ll need to talk to your doctor if you want to try this route.
Limiting your exposure and taking medication is fine for managing allergy symptoms, but these aren’t treatments. If you want to find long-term relief from your allergies, the best way is through allergy immunotherapy. Sublingual immunotherapy is an effective way to treat allergies using drops or tablets that are administered under the tongue. These drops or tablets contain small doses of an allergen substance, which gradually trains your immune system to ignore or tolerate these substances instead of triggering an allergic reaction. Unlike allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy doesn’t require needles or a trip to the doctor for every dose. You can take these painless treatments at home.
Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly
When you’re looking for lifelong relief from your walnut tree allergy symptoms, Wyndly can help. Our doctors can create a personalized allergy treatment plan based on your allergy profile. Schedule an allergy consultation with us today to get started on your journey toward an allergy-free life.
Walnut Tree Allergy FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions about walnut tree allergies.
Can walnut tree allergies be deadly?
While it’s not very common for pollen allergies to be fatal, many people do experience severe reactions to walnuts themselves. If you have a severe reaction to eating a walnut, seek emergency medical attention right away.
Can I get rid of walnut trees in my yard?
Getting rid of walnut trees in your yard would be a difficult task that likely wouldn’t be worth the effort. Even if you remove the trees, the pollen can travel for miles, meaning nearby trees could still contribute to your allergies.
Can I move somewhere without walnut trees?
Walnut trees are common in just about every state. Generally, it’s easier to try treatment before making a drastic change like moving states.
When is walnut pollen allergy season?
For most areas, the season will be from March to June. In some areas, the season can start as early as January.