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Chinese Elm Allergy

leaf of an elm 3 image by Alexander Oshvintsev from

Elm trees are popular choices for landscaping because of the ornamental value of the leaves and the shade they provide. In addition to being used for landscaping, the hard wood of the elm tree is valued for commercial purposes. The Chinese elm is one of 45 species of elm trees and the pollen it produces can cause severe allergies.


An allergy to the Chinese elm tree is caused by the pollen that is carried by the wind in the fall months. Chinese elm tree allergy is considered a moderate allergy and most sufferers use an antihistamine to control the symptoms.


The Chinese elm grows across the Southern United States and some have been planted in the Northeastern part of the country. Chinese elm does not live in the Northern Plains states of the country. Chinese elm was introduced to the U.S. and is not a native plant. Chinese elm can be differentiated from native species of elm trees because the leaves are smaller than the American elm.


The most common allergy symptom with Chinese elms is congestion and watering eyes; since the pollen is airborne it can get into the eyes easily. Congestion is caused as the pollen is breathed in and reacts with the body. The higher the pollination levels the worse the symptoms will be. Allergies to Chinese elm trees tend to be more severe than other species of elm trees.


If an individual is allergic to the Chinese elm tree it is likely he will be allergic to other types of elm trees as well. Since elm trees are pollinated by the wind, closing the windows while indoors will prevent pollen from entering the house and causing allergic reactions. Windy days during the pollination season will cause an increase in the pollen counts, so staying inside on such days will help limit the exposure.


Chinese elm tree allergies can be suppressed with medication. However, it is important to read the label before taking any medication to eliminate the risk of becoming drowsy. Taking regular doses of an antihistamine medication prior to the beginning of the Chinese elm allergy season can limit the symptoms by building antihistamine levels in the blood. When selecting a medication make sure it is designed to block airborne pollen allergies as the Chinese elm tree is an airborne allergy.

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