Victoria is well and truly into Allergy Season with lots of angry red eyes and snuffling noses. We’ve previously discussed the testing methods and sublingual allergy drops, but we haven’t talked about what might be allergy triggers. Many people have an idea of what types of things trigger their allergies but how accurate are our guesses? Most of us blame our allergy symptoms on the plants we can see. And so the most commonly blamed suspects for spring allergies are the cherry and plum trees. Victoria has beautiful cherry tree-lined streets and when they bloom its pretty magnificent, except for the allergy sufferers who know that this heralds the worst of their symptoms. However, these beauties are just the fall guy for the less visible Alder tree, which is the culprit in more than 99% of tree allergies. Pollens need to be small and light enough to stay airborne long enough to be inhaled. The pollen from plum and cherry blossoms is far too heavy and does not stay airborne long enough to cause a problem.
The same happens in the summer with Scotch broom. Broom is a bright yellow and has quite a strong fragrance (which people either find really irritating or fairly pleasant) and it is very visible and blooms just as the more allergenic grasses start to seed. But while most people believe they are very allergic to Scotch broom, it can’t trigger allergies as it doesn’t produce a pollen but rather makes heavy little seed pods.
So while we may have a sense of the plants in bloom while our allergies are at their worst, its worth getting scratch Allergy testing to confirm the actual triggers for your symptoms. This allows us to choose the right targets for desensitization. Feel free to call or email if you have any questions or comments about seasonal allergies or any other topics discussed here.