Tree pollen and asthma

Posted at 11:17 am on 05/10/2016 by Powlin Manuel MD, MBA, MS.

Why is asthma getting worse now in May?

Tree pollen allergy is one of the main triggers in spring. Pecan trees for example, start producing the flowers in April and continue with pollination in May. The trees are identified by its long sickle shaped leaves, with pointed tips. Pollen is associated with sinus symptoms - sneezing, blocked nose and post-nasal drip in patients with allergy, and increases chance of asthma attacks.

Patients with asthma and allergies carry a certain type of cells of immune system known as Mast Cells in higher numbers in their bronchial tubes compared to those who do not suffer from allergies. Mast cells have a mechanism of releasing neurochemicals such as histamine in the airway on exposure to allergens, which leads to bronchospasm and an asthma
attack. Research studies using recent technology to identify genes related to mast cells have shown that in certain patients with allergies, this gene is more prevalent, the patients suffered from more allergies; possess more cells related to allergy in their airway, demonstrated increased sensitivity of airway.

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