Plant Allergies: November 2006 Archives

Pine allergies require artificial trees


pine treeRAPID CITY — If you or your family members seem to come down with colds every year at Christmas time, you might want to think about replacing that fresh-cut tree with an artificial one, according to a local allergy doctor.

“If someone is allergic to pine pollen, they will also be allergic to the smell of the pine — both the trees and the greens that you have in arrangements,” Dr. Gerti Janss said. And if you’re allergic to pine, you’re allergic to spruce. “They’re from the same family.”

Pine pollen allergies are common, Janss said, even though people might not realize they have them. Some people suffer when pollen flies in the spring and early summer. Others can’t do woodworking projects with pine boards.

Scratching Out Poison Ivy Allergy

poison ivyPlagued by poison ivy allergy? It might be possible to coax the body to build up immunity to poison ivy.

That news comes from researchers including Mary Morris, MD, of Allergy Associates of La Crosse in La Crosse, Wis.

They studied 115 people with a history of severe skin reactions to poison ivy who were treated at their clinic over the past 15 years.

The treatment was a small amount of poison ivy extract placed under the tongue. The goal was to train the body's immune system not to overreact to poison ivy.

The patients took skin tests to see if the treatment helped.

Researchers link early pollen seasons to warmer weather


pollen seasonsKANSAS CITY, Mo. - Researchers at Children's Mercy Hospital have analyzed a decade's worth of data and found what appears to be a trend of earlier pollen seasons, which they believe is triggered by rising temperatures.

The group has discovered that during the past 10 years the oak pollen season in Kansas City has begun, on average, a half day earlier each year. The findings were to be presented Saturday in Philadelphia at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

"It could be creating a longer growing season for oaks," said Charles Barnes, the Children's Mercy biochemist in charge of the hospital's daily mold and pollen counts. "You might have to start taking your allergy medicine earlier."

The Children's Mercy research is similar to other research worldwide that attributes earlier, longer and more miserable allergy seasons to global warming. Some researchers suggest that the growing abundance of pollen may be causing the rising rates of asthma and increases in hay fever, eczema and other allergies in many countries.