Posts Tagged ‘please contact your doctor’

Tree Pollen Allergy And The City

April 15, 2010

It is not unusual for me to see a patient in the office who grew up in a rural community but didn’t really start having bad tree pollen allergy symptoms until moving to the city.  In fact, I saw just such a patient yesterday, which prompted me to write this.

There are several potential explanations for this.

First off, people can develop a new allergy at any time or an existing allergy can worsen at any time.  So it is totally possible that a person either was not allergic to trees growing up or had minor allergies to trees growing up, but is very allergic as an adult.

In terms of the city though, most people assume that since there are generally fewer trees in the city that allergy problems should be less.  That is not really the case.  Tree pollen in particular can travel quite far.  Tree pollen has been found by researchers up to 2000 feet in the air and up to 25 miles off shore.  And so, it is not just tree pollen from trees physically in Manhattan that contribute to symptoms there, but also pollen from trees in rural New Jersey blowing in across the Hudson River.

The most important reason for the severity of allergy symptoms in the city however, lies in the fact that studies have shown that pollution can exacerbate allergy symptoms in allergy sufferers.   Therefore, the same level of pollen in the city would likely cause more symptoms in the city than in a rural community.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor