Plant allergy, also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, is undoubtedly one of the most common allergies affecting children and adults. For people suffering from plant allergy, activities like strolling in a park or going inside a flower shop may cause more suffering than enjoyment.
But not all types of plants trigger allergy symptoms. Some plants may not stimulate any allergic reaction, while others may cause severe symptoms to manifest. If you suffer from hay fever, it definitely helps to know the most notorious allergy-causing plants you should avoid. Below are the top 5 culprits.
Ragweed is often referred to as the most allergenic (allergy-causing) plant because almost 70 percent of the world’s population is sensitive to it. They typically grow in fields, roadsides, riverbanks, disturbed soils, and in rural areas. It is especially abundant during summer and autumn. The main reason why ragweed is considered to be very allergenic is because of the enormous number of pollen grains it produces.
Maple is a very beautiful and colorful tree but its leaves produce potent allergens that can stimulate the worst allergic reactions, particularly maple trees with ash-colored leaves. Maple trees produce more allergens during early spring and they are usually found along streams and rivers, or in the woods.
Also called wattles in Australia and umbrella thorn in Africa, Acacia has some 1000 species scattered in the world. Though some species are native to certain parts of the globe, the Australian species are probably the most potentially-allergenic to patients. Allergic reactions typically arise when the pollen from the tree’s flowers come in contact with the skin or when the pollen grains enter the respiratory tract.
Elm is one of the most important trees in the environment. It’s a food source that helps sustain wildlife and its wood is used for many purposes. Despite the function it fulfills for the ecology, it contains allergens not good for people suffering from hay fever. The tree grows in moist environments and its peak seasons are spring and fall.
Grasses, in general, are often a problem for allergy sufferers and ryegrass is definitely at the top of the list. Ryegrass grows in dry and cool places. That is why it thrives during spring and summer. It is typically seen in lawns, meadows, and pastures. “Cousins” of ryegrass such as timothy and orchard grasses are also known to be extremely allergenic to many people.
Treatment and Management
Plant allergy, like other allergies, is managed symptomatically. This means you treat it depending on the symptoms experienced by the patient. This also means that treatment or treatments may vary from one person to the next. There are some cases wherein simple home remedies will do the trick and alleviate the symptoms, while others may need the use of medications like antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs to address the problem.