The number of patients coming to the office with cough, sneezing, and headache has increased substantially during this week in March. In addition to oak tree pollen and pine pollen, willow tree blooms add to symptoms of allergy. Willow trees are seen more in the wet areas; they have long pointed leaves. . These trees produce small yellowish greenish flowers, now appearing in the southern states.
Allergy to willow tree pollen is common in the states where willow trees are present. The symptoms are produced by histamine and serotonin produced on the nose and sinuses of patients who are allergic to willow pollen. Asthma symptoms can also be triggered by allergic reaction to willow pollen. Allergy shots are available, which may help to develop resistance to willow pollen.
Allergy season is open in Louisiana in March. Based on the patients already presenting with an acute attack of sinus allergy and watching the trees blooming, I can confidentially affirm that allergy season for 2014 has started in Louisiana. Oak tree pollen can be observed plentifully on trees all around us in Louisiana. This is especially applicable to water oak trees, which shed leaves in winter.
Oak tree pollen entering the nose, most of them, are held back in the nose by filtering mechanisms of the nasal passage, preventing it from going into the lungs. The antibodies present in the cells of the nose put up a fight, and that results in release of a chemical called histamine in the nose. Histamine increases the blood flow to the area of contact. The glands of the nasal passage release mucus to digest the proteins of the pollen. This results in a watery discharge from the nose (runny nose). Histamine induces sneezing, which helps to expel the allergenic pollen in the sinuses. Now you know how it works.
Recently patients coming to office for sneezing, cough, itchy eyes and misery went up sharply. I find many pine trees starting the bloom. In places where pine trees are plentiful, pine pollen could be a significant factor causing sinus allergy symptoms. The pine pollen is too large to enter the lower airway. Hence, a symptom of lower airway allergy such as asthma is usually not triggered by pine pollen allergy.