Mimosa trees are a member of the Mimosa pudica family. The male species of this vegetation produces pollen to help start the germination process for the tree. This pollen is usually released during the summer. Mimosa trees produce flowers that create pollen. The pollen produces a typical seasonal allergy in people. Pollen is carried through the air, making the potential for the pollen and the allergy to be widespread in areas where the trees are growing.
Mimosa allergies stem from inhaling the pollen released by the flowers from the tree. Pollen is usually released during the summer as the tree pollinates and sprouts flowers. Allergies are caused by inhaling the pollen or allowing it to enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth.
Contact with the pollen from the flowers of the mimosa tree can cause one of three main allergies affecting people: allergic rhinitis, hay fever and conjunctivitis. These allergies can be triggered by either breathing in the pollen or by coming into contact with the pollen. Hay fever is an example of the former while conjunctivitis is an example of the latter. Depending on how sensitive a person is, the tree only needs to be within sight distance to be within range of triggering hay fever.
Each type of allergy has different symptoms to help determine which allergy is causing distress. Hay fever symptoms include running nose, sneezing, wheezing, coughing and watering eyes; this may be caused by being in close proximity to a mimosa tree. Conjunctivitis symptoms include swelling and redness of the eyes, swelling of the eyelids, watery discharge, and severe itching; coming into direct contact with pollen from the flowers of a mimosa tree causes symptoms of conjunctivitis.
Treatment should be administered as quickly as possible. If symptoms are allowed to persist, allergic sinusitis can occur involving one or more symptoms including facial tenderness, headaches, congestion, and labored breathing. Treatments to alleviate the allergy include oral or topical antihistamines, decongestants, anti-inflammatory inhalers, corticosteroids, and allergy injections.
More permanent treatment involves cutting the tree down before seeds form, according to the University of Florida. Mimosa trees are quick to spread when seeds are allowed to drop.
The flowers of the mimosa tree attract bees and wasps. This attraction can cause problems for individuals who are also allergic or sensitive to bites or stings from these insects. Symptoms include hives, inflammation and itchy rashes around the area infected, as well as potentially fatal anaphylaxis, which is the restricting of the airways.