June 8, 2023
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THE pollinosisalso called seasonal rhinitis, refers to allergic manifestations caused by contact of the nasal, bronchial or ocular mucous membranes with the pollens of certain trees, plants, herbaceous and grasses. They only trigger during pollen peaks and can seriously handicap the daily lives of those who suffer from it.

Among the most common pollinosis in the city: plane tree pollen allergya tree belonging to the family of Platanaceae, which includes just over a dozen species. In France, its flowering period extends from April to May. Its pollen has a low allergenic power, but it can still trigger sneezing, runny nose, tearing, throat irritation and/or breathing difficulties. In the most serious cases, it can even lead to a asthma attack.

Why is the plane tree allergenic?

As noted above, plane tree pollen released from male flowers in April is weakly allergenic. As a reminder, allergy is linked to a disruption of the immune system : the body of people with allergies perceives certain allergens as “dangerous” and reacts accordingly. When it comes into contact with plane tree pollen, it produces specific antibodies (IgE) which release several chemical mediators, in particular histamine, at the origin of the characteristic symptoms of allergy.

The plane tree has more than one trick up its sleeve to cause us inconvenience. Not only do its male flowers release allergenic pollen, but its female flowers also produce allergenic pollen each year. fruits with very irritating micro-needles (the achenes). These fall to the ground and spread on the sidewalks, releasing thousands of hairs and feathers, sometimes used as scratching hair. In reality, it is these fruits that irritate us, much more than plane tree pollen.

To make matters worse, young plane tree leaves also have very aggressive articulated bristles.

In video: “Why are we allergic to pollen?”

Why are we allergic to pollen?

Reminder: what are the most allergenic trees?

Not all pollens cause an allergic reaction. For this, they must have a strong allergenic power, be small in size and be emitted in large quantities. Among the most allergenic tree pollens: that of aldersof the birchesof the charmsof the japan cryptomeriaof the cypressof the ash treesof the paper mulberryof the hazel trees and olive trees.

Crying and itchy eyes, itchy throat, sneezing… What symptoms should alert?

Symptoms of plane tree pollen allergy are similar to those of any pollen allergy:

  • nose that flows ;
  • red and watery eyes;
  • sneezing in burst ;
  • itching in the nose and palate ;
  • feeling of having sand in the eye ;
  • photophobia ;
  • sometimes edema in the eyelids.

In very allergic people, pollen can also be responsible for severe asthma (we speak of allergic asthma), the symptoms of which can be: cougha wheezingA shortness of breath and an chest tightness.

Allergy to plane tree pollen: where and when to be wary (period, map)?

The plane tree mainly pollinates during the month of april. Very resistant to pollution, it is found a lot in the city, where it is used as ornamental and alignment tree in the streets.

What does a plane tree look like?

To avoid plane trees, you still have to know how to recognize them. Easier said than done for novices, because the leaves of the plane tree and the maple look alike.

These trees have big green leaves, which turn yellow, then brown before falling in autumn. Their two-tone bark is rather characteristic: first of all greyish, it cracks and thus reveals beige or greenish patches. Finally, their flowers quickly give way to round, hairy fruits (achenes), which can irritate the respiratory system.

Plane tree leaves

© Adobe Stock / helenedevun

What are the pollens circulating at the moment?

To know the distribution and progress of pollen in France (in France and overseas), find a updated map on the dedicated page of the National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (RNSA).

Which doctor to consult in case of plane tree allergy?

As soon as the first symptoms appear, do not hesitate to consult your attending physician. He will be able to offer you an appropriate treatment. If the symptoms persist or worsen, he will redirect you to an allergist doctor who will be able to specify the diagnosis thanks to skin tests and adapt the care.

How to prevent the risks associated with plane tree pollen allergy?

Plane tree pollen allergy has a heavy impact on patients’ daily lives: it affects their physical and psychological well-being (fatigue, reduced concentration, social eviction, etc.). In town, because they cannot cut down plane trees, many municipalities choose to cut the largest branches before they bear fruit. But that cannot be enough. If you are allergic to plane tree pollen, the best solution is to follow these prevention tips:

  • ventilate your home in the evening only, but avoid sleeping with the window open ;
  • limit outdoor activities when pollen concentration is highest (usually early morning and evening);
  • wear sunglasses outdoors (to prevent pollen or stinging fruit hairs from coming into contact with your eyes);
  • avoid drying your laundry outside And wash your clothes regularly to rid them of possible pollen;
  • wash your hair regularly to remove pollen (preferably before going to bed);
  • choose single-use contact lenses (disposable at the end of the day), rather than monthly or fortnightly lenses;
  • And find out about pollen alerts of RNSA (National Aerobiological Surveillance Network).

How to overcome plane tree pollen allergy?

In addition to the avoidance and prevention measures above, your doctor may prescribe oral symptomatic treatment based onsecond generation antihistamine (better tolerated than those of the first generation). I

l can also recommend taking corticosteroids in the form of a nasal spray to free the nose and physiological serum or of eye drops to soothe eye irritation.

In case of allergic asthma, the doctor also prescribes a bronchodilator and background anti-inflammatory treatment with inhaled corticosteroids.

When to consider desensitization to plane tree pollen?

Beyond symptomatic treatment, the only way to definitively treat a plane tree pollen allergy is to go through there desensitization. The goal? Expose patients to an increasingly large dose of allergen: a few drops slipped under the tongue every day for several years. Thus, said patient(s) develop a tolerance to the allergen and their organism ceases to treat it as an enemy.

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