Mary Predny

Common Plant Allergies

Fotolia.com”> People with grass allergies should cut it before it begins to flower. grass image by ana malin from Fotolia.com

According to Mary Predny at the Virginia Cooperative Extension, common plant allergens include grasses, weeds and trees. Some plants trigger allergic reactions because their pollen is easily inhaled. Airborne pollen is light enough to stay aloft for several days, traveling hundreds of miles, according to the Allergy Relief Center.

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac cause allergic reaction through physical contact with their plant sap. Gardening tools, clothing, shoes and pet fur may transfer plant sap, so you can react even if you never touched the plant.

Grasses

Fotolia.com”> Bermuda grass causes allergies in some sensitive individuals. grass image by palms from Fotolia.com

Grasses that cause the most allergies include Bermuda, Orchard, Johnson, Rye, Timothy, Redtop and Kentucky bluegrass, according to Plantcare.com. Rye and Timothy grass allergies are most commonly referred to as hay fever because they typically occur during haying season.

Grass pollinates during the late spring and summer. Cutting the grass before it flowers can cut down on grass allergies. You can also wear a breathing mask when cutting the grass or when the air is dry and windy to help stave off allergy flare ups.

Trees

Fotolia.com”> Pollen from the cottonwood trees can make it appear to snow in the spring. rattlertree image by Igor Zhorov from Fotolia.com

Most trees pollinate in early spring, but if the winter is mild, they may begin pollinating in late January in the southern United States, according to the Allergy Relief Center. Cottonwoods, oaks, mulberries, maples and pecans are the trees most likely to cause allergic reaction in the spring. Furs, junipers, cypress and sequoias flower in the fall and early winter, according to Mary Predny. Fresh cut evergreens, Christmas trees and holiday trims may cause issues for holiday shoppers who are sensitive to these trees.

Ragweed

Fotolia.com”> People who are sensitive to ragweed may also be sensitive to canteloupe and bananas. canteloupe melon image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Ragweeds cause allergies in 75 percent of Americans with pollen sensitivities according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). There are 17 varieties in the U.S. and they pollinate in the summer and early fall. In the southern U.S., ragweed season may begin in September and last until the first hard freeze, which may not happen until late December or early January.

One ragweed plant can produce up to one billion grains of pollen. The pollen counts are typically highest in rural areas just after dawn and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in urban areas. People who are sensitive to ragweed may also be sensitive to sage, cantaloupe and bananas. Consuming chamomile tea, sunflower seeds and honey can lead to allergic reaction and shock in sensitive individuals.

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Fotolia.com”> Never burn poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. poison ivy image by Predrag Marcikic from Fotolia.com

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac sap is called urushiol. Urushiol is very irritating and is found in every part of the plant, according to WebMed. The sap continues to be active after the plant dies. People build up a sensitivity to urushiol and each subsequent exposure causes the reaction to intensify. WebMD warns that you should not burn these plants because the sap can become airborne in the smoke and ash from the fire. Inhaled urushiol can cause serious and severe reactions in the respiratory system.