Willows are diverse trees, with more than 400 known species across the world. Willow trees prefer wet environments, usually growing near rivers, marshes, lakes, and other bodies of water. Although the willow is a pretty tree that is useful for medicine and dozens of other applications, its pollen is also allergenic, as most tree pollen is.
If you have willow pollen allergies, you may find that your allergies flare up in the spring. Fortunately, there are ways to manage and treat your willow allergies. Wyndly can help. Our doctors can create a personalized allergy treatment plan for your willow allergies.
Schedule a consultation for your personalized allergy treatment plan today, or read on to learn more about willow allergies.
What Is a Willow Tree Allergy?
A willow tree allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to the pollen from willow trees. The immune system perceives the harmless pollen as a threat, reacting with antibodies and histamine to fight it off. This causes allergy symptoms to present themselves, leading to sneezing, coughing, and other symptoms.
Though willow trees aren’t the most allergenic of the tree species, they can certainly cause problems for some people.
Everyone experiences allergy symptoms in varying degrees of frequency and severity, but more than likely you’ll experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Aggravated symptoms if you have asthma
When the air concentration of pollen is high, you can expect that your symptoms may worsen or become more pronounced.
Where Is Willow Found?
Willow trees can be found in just about every U.S. state. Even though they prefer temperate climates and moist soil, there are species of willow that can do just fine in climates that don’t meet these ideal conditions. Essentially, if an area has bodies of water or gets enough rainfall, you can expect there to be willows in that state.
Willow pollen is much like the pollen of other tree species, meaning it is lightweight and travels quite easily in the wind. Willow pollen can travel for miles, so even if you don’t have any willow trees in your immediate area, your willow allergies could still flare up.
When Is Willow Pollen Allergy Season?
Willow pollen allergy season will typically begin during the last vestiges of winter and can last into early summer. If conditions are right, the trees usually start producing pollen in late February. They can continue producing pollen well into late May. Most of the time, pollen levels will peak in April, causing the most problems for allergy sufferers.
Testing and Diagnosis
Willow trees share an allergy season with many different tree species, making it difficult to identify willow as the specific source of your allergies. It’s always a good idea to get an allergy test so you can find out which allergens you need to avoid. With an allergy test, you can find out all of your primary allergens and clear up any doubt about your triggers. Wyndly offers the most convenient and painless allergy testing, with our at-home allergy test. Order your at-home allergy test today.
Let’s look at 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
- Get 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 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 treat your symptoms.
Treatment and Remedies
Allergy symptoms can affect your daily quality of life, so it’s important to manage or treat your symptoms to minimize their impact. There are remedies and treatments you may want to consider for your willow pollen allergies.
It’s recommended to limit your exposure to your allergen as much as possible. While airborne allergens like pollen can be nearly impossible to avoid altogether, there are several measures you can take to limit your exposure as much as possible.
Here are some methods you may want to try:
- Look at the pollen count: Once willow allergy season begins, you’re going to want to check the pollen count on a daily basis. If the pollen count is high, try to stay indoors as much as possible. You may want to consider wearing an N95 mask when you go outside, as that can help prevent you from breathing in pollen.
- Shower, wash hands, and wash face: After being outside, it’s a good idea to rinse off in the shower so you can get pollen off your skin and out of your hair. At the very least, it’s recommended to wash your hands and face well.
- Keep your house clean: Pollen will likely get into your home at some point, so it’s good to clean your house more thoroughly during allergy season. Try using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner and wiping off hard surfaces with a wet rag.
- Limit outdoor hours to evenings: Pollen usually peaks during the morning and early afternoon hours, so it’s better to go outside in the evening instead.
- Keep windows closed: Make sure you’re not letting pollen get in through the windows. Keep them closed during allergy season, and use your A/C instead. If possible, install a HEPA filter as well.
- Trim willow branches: If you have willow trees in your yard, you can reduce pollen in your immediate area by keeping branches trimmed.
Limiting your exposure can help with mild symptoms, but it’s often not enough to manage symptoms completely. Many people use allergy medications to help with symptoms during allergy season.
Over-the-counter: Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications give you several options, with non-drowsy choices and even medications for children. Here are the common options available:
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines work to temporarily inhibit histamine response, reducing several common allergy symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: If you have a runny or stuffy nose, nasal sprays can be useful for reducing these symptoms. They reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages, providing short-term relief.
- Eye drops: With eye drops, you can easily flush pollen out of your eyes and relieve itchy and watery eye symptoms.
- Prescription: You can also consult your doctor about prescription allergy medication options if your OTC options aren’t working, but these also tend to provide short-term relief.
If you’re looking to treat your allergies instead of just managing the symptoms, then sublingual immunotherapy might be the right course of action for you. Sublingual immunotherapy introduces small, gradually increasing doses of your allergen to your immune system. This retrains your immune system to ignore these allergens instead of reacting with antibodies and causing allergy symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy is administered under the tongue and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit or the use of painful needles.
Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly
When you’re searching for long-term relief from your allergy symptoms, Wyndly can help. Our doctors can create a personalized treatment plan designed for you to address your willow allergies at the source. Get started on the path to lifelong relief with Wyndly.
Schedule your allergy consultation today!
Willow Tree Allergy FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions about willow allergies.
Can willow allergies be deadly?
It is very rare for willow pollen allergies to be fatal. In the vast majority of cases, they just trigger an immune response from the body, leading to allergy symptoms. Of course, if you have asthma you may find your symptoms worsen during allergy season, and you may need to carry an inhaler in case of an asthma attack.
Can I just get rid of willow trees from my yard?
It would be a difficult endeavor to remove willow trees from your yard, and even if you succeeded, nearby willow trees that are outside your property line can still produce pollen that travels in the wind. If you want to reduce pollen in your immediate area, the best you can do is trim the willow branches.
Can I move to a state without willow trees?
Willow trees are a diverse species that can be found throughout most of the United States. You could possibly move to a place that has a species of willow you’re not allergic to, but in general, it’s better to try treatment before taking drastic measures.
When will willow pollen be the worst?
Willow pollen will usually peak in the month of April, so you’ll want to take extra precautions to limit exposure during this time.