June 12, 2018

Are Mulberry Trees Causing Your Allergy Problems?

As the spring season rolls in, so does the release of pollen from mulberry trees, affecting individuals with sensitivities to these airborne particles. Whether you're an allergy sufferer seeking relief or someone curious to learn more about this particular allergy, we've compiled a comprehensive guide to help you understand mulberry tree allergies better. From common symptoms and triggers to effective treatment options, we'll explore all aspects of managing mulberry allergies to ensure you have a comfortable and allergy-free season. Let's delve into the world of mulberry tree allergies and equip you with the knowledge you need for a sniffle-free spring!

What is mulberry tree allergy?

Mulberry trees are deciduous plants belonging to the Morus genus and are known for their distinctively shaped leaves and delicious fruit. They are native to temperate regions of Asia, Europe, and North America, and some varieties are cultivated for their sweet, dark-colored berries, which are commonly used in jams, pies, and desserts. However, despite their culinary appeal, mulberry trees can be a source of allergies for certain individuals. Mulberry allergy is primarily triggered by the pollen released from the male flowers of the tree. When people with sensitivities come into contact with the airborne pollen, they may experience allergic reactions ranging from mild to severe. 

When is mulberry tree allergy season?

The mulberry tree allergy season typically occurs during the spring months, from late March to early June, in the United States. However, the timing of the allergy season can vary depending on the geographical location and climate of different regions across the country. In the southern states with milder winters, such as Texas, Florida, and parts of California, mulberry trees may start releasing pollen as early as February. On the other hand, in the northern states with colder winters, like New York, Michigan, and Illinois, mulberry pollen is more likely to be prevalent from April to May. Areas with a significant presence of mulberry trees, such as those with abundant green spaces, parks, and residential neighborhoods where these trees are cultivated for their fruit, experience higher pollen counts during the allergy season.

If you’re still unsure about when mulberry season might be in your area, download our free allergy calendar that informs you when and what allergens are high in your area.

What are mulberry tree allergy symptoms?

Mulberry tree symptoms are allergic reactions that occur when individuals with sensitivities come into contact with mulberry pollen, resulting in a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Skin irritation (hives

Food and triggers to avoid if you have a mulberry tree allergy

People with mulberry allergies may experience Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), which is a condition where the immune system recognizes similarities between proteins in certain pollen, like mulberry pollen, and proteins in certain foods. When individuals with mulberry allergies consume these cross-reactive foods, they may experience mild allergic reactions in the mouth, throat, and sometimes the digestive system. Some foods that may trigger OAS in individuals with mulberry allergies include:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Mulberries
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Figs
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes

To minimize the risk of allergic reactions, individuals with mulberry tree allergies should avoid consuming these cross-reactive foods and be cautious during the mulberry tree allergy season, as pollen exposure can heighten sensitivity to these food triggers. It's crucial to read food labels carefully and inquire about ingredient information when dining out to prevent inadvertent exposure to mulberry-related allergens.

Testing for mulberry tree allergies

To determine if someone has a mulberry allergy, allergy testing can be conducted to identify specific allergens that trigger the allergic reactions. Aspire Allergy & Sinus provides comprehensive allergy testing services, including skin testing and intradermal testing.

Skin Testing: This is a common and non-invasive test where small amounts of allergens, including mulberry pollen, are introduced to the surface of the skin through tiny pricks or scratches. The skin's reaction is observed, and if there is an allergic response, such as redness and swelling, it indicates sensitivity to the specific allergen.

Intradermal Testing: In cases where skin testing results are inconclusive, intradermal testing may be performed. During this test, a small amount of the allergen is injected under the skin. The presence of a raised, itchy bump indicates an allergic reaction to the tested allergen.

With Aspire Allergy & Sinus, individuals can get comprehensive testing for up to 58 different allergens, including mulberry pollen. This extensive testing approach allows for a thorough assessment of the patient's allergic sensitivities, enabling a tailored treatment plan to manage and alleviate allergy symptoms effectively.

Treating mulberry tree allergies

At Aspire Allergy & Sinus, we offer three various treatment options for mulberry allergies, catering to individual preferences and needs: allergy drops, allergy shots, and ExACT immunoplasty.

Allergy Drops: Also known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), this treatment involves placing small doses of mulberry allergens under the tongue. Over time, the body builds tolerance to the allergen, reducing sensitivity and minimizing allergic reactions. Allergy drops are convenient and can be administered at home, making them a preferred choice for those who dislike injections.

Allergy Shots: Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) or allergy shots involve injecting gradually increasing amounts of mulberry allergens into the patient's arm. This process aims to desensitize the immune system, leading to decreased allergic responses. Allergy shots are typically administered in our clinic, and patients will need to visit the clinic regularly for injections.

ExACT Immunoplasty: Our ExACT Immunoplasty takes a personalized approach to treat mulberry allergies. It involves just three shots over the span of eight weeks. It’s by far our fastest and most effective treatment we offer, by targeting the specific allergens causing the reactions, this treatment can be more efficient and effective in providing relief from mulberry allergy symptoms.

Each of these treatments aims to modify the body's immune response to mulberry allergens, reducing sensitivity and preventing severe allergic reactions. The choice between allergy drops, allergy shots, or ExACT Immunoplasty depends on factors like patient preference, the severity of the allergy, and the patient's medical history. Our team of allergy specialists will work closely with each patient to determine the most suitable treatment plan to manage their mulberry allergy effectively and improve their overall quality of life.

Managing mulberry tree allergy symptoms

Minimize outdoor exposure during peak pollen times: Pollen levels are typically higher in the morning and evening. By staying indoors during these times, especially on windy days when pollen is more likely to be airborne, you can reduce your exposure to mulberry pollen and alleviate allergy symptoms.

Keep windows closed: While it may be tempting to open windows for fresh air, doing so can allow pollen to enter your home and exacerbate your allergies. Keep windows closed during mulberry tree allergy season and use air conditioning or air purifiers with HEPA filters to maintain a pollen-free environment indoors.

Wear protective clothing: When going outside during the allergy season, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from direct pollen exposure. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can also help prevent pollen from coming into contact with your skin.

Rinse off and change clothes after being outdoors: After spending time outside, pollen can stick to your clothes and hair. Take a shower and change into fresh clothes to wash away any pollen lingering on your body and reduce the risk of transferring pollen to indoor spaces.

Consult an allergist for proper management: Allergists can help diagnose and manage your mulberry tree allergy effectively. They may recommend medications, such as antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids, to relieve symptoms. Additionally, they can provide personalized treatment options like allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) to build tolerance to mulberry allergens and reduce your allergic reactions over time. Seeking professional advice ensures you receive the most appropriate care for your specific allergy needs.

People Also Ask/FAQ Ideas

Can you be allergic to mulberries?

Yes, it is possible to be allergic to mulberries. Some individuals may develop allergic reactions when they come into contact with mulberry pollen or consume the fruit. Mulberry allergies can trigger various symptoms, such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and skin irritation. Moreover, people with mulberry allergies may also experience cross-reactions with other fruits from the Moraceae family, leading to Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).

Why am I allergic to mulberry?

Allergies to mulberry, like other allergies, occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies certain proteins found in mulberries as harmful invaders. When exposed to these proteins, the immune system releases histamines and other chemicals, leading to allergic reactions. The exact reason why some individuals develop allergies while others do not is not entirely understood. Allergies can be influenced by a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and previous exposure to allergens. If you have developed an allergy to mulberries, it indicates that your immune system has become sensitized to specific substances present in mulberries, such as pollen or proteins in the fruit.

Which tree pollen is the worst for allergies?

The tree pollen that is often considered the worst for allergies varies depending on individual sensitivities and geographical locations. However, several trees are known to produce high levels of allergenic pollen that can trigger severe allergic reactions. Among them, mulberry tree pollen is notorious for causing significant allergies for susceptible individuals. The release of mulberry pollen during the spring season can lead to common allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin irritation. Additionally, oak, birch, cedar, and pine trees are also recognized as major culprits in causing severe tree pollen allergies in various regions. 

Why are mulberry trees illegal in Texas and Arizona?

Mulberry trees were banned in certain cities in Texas and Arizona in the early 90s. This is because some varieties of mulberry trees can be invasive and pose a threat to the local ecosystem. Invasive mulberry trees can spread rapidly, displacing native plant species and disrupting the natural balance of the environment. 

How do you treat mulberry pollen allergies?

The treatment of mulberry pollen allergies involves a comprehensive approach to manage and alleviate symptoms effectively. Depending on the severity of the allergy and individual preferences, several treatment options are available. Short-term treatments may include over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids to relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. For more severe cases or when symptoms are not adequately controlled with medications, allergen immunotherapy can be a highly effective long-term solution. Allergy shots or allergy drops can be administered to gradually desensitize the immune system to mulberry pollen, reducing sensitivity and preventing future allergic reactions.

Can mulberry silk cause an allergic reaction?

Mulberry silk, which is derived from the silkworms that feed on mulberry leaves, is generally considered hypoallergenic and less likely to cause allergic reactions compared to other types of silk. However, it is still possible for some individuals to experience allergic responses to mulberry silk. Allergies to silk can result from sensitivities to proteins or chemicals used in the processing of the fabric. If you have a known allergy to silk or experience skin irritation or respiratory symptoms when in contact with mulberry silk, it is advisable to avoid its use and opt for alternative fabrics that do not trigger allergic reactions.

How Aspire Allergy & Sinus can help

Aspire Allergy & Sinus is dedicated to providing comprehensive and personalized care to help individuals manage their mulberry allergies effectively. Our services encompass a wide range of solutions tailored to each patient's unique needs. With advanced allergy testing, we can accurately identify mulberry allergy triggers and assess the individual's overall allergen profile. Armed with this information, our experienced allergists can recommend appropriate treatment options, including sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) or subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). We also offer ExACT Immunoplasty, a personalized approach that targets specific allergens causing the reactions, making the treatment more efficient and effective. Book your appointment online today!

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