The common olive allergy is instigated by pollen generated by olive trees. The release of olive pollen occurs during the spring season and can result to mild to serious respiratory symptoms. It is important to note that olive trees are evergreen trees that are native to Africa, Asia and Mediterranean but have been introduced to other countries. Individuals who are highly sensitive to olive pollen are at risk for olive allergies anywhere there are trees present.
Due to the presence of pollen in the air, those who are highly sensitive and spend a lot of time outdoors face the highest risk for reactions. The individual should observe proper preventive measures to avoid a reaction.
Olive trees have been recognized as a main trigger of seasonal respiratory allergies among individuals who live in Mediterranean countries. Individuals who are allergic to olive tree pollen can suffer from rhinoconjunctivitis. Take note that allergic rhinitis or hay fever is an allergic reaction that manifests once the immune system overly reacts to inhaled substances such as pollen. The symptoms typically include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing and coughing.
Allergic conjunctivitis is another reaction to olive pollen which triggers symptoms such as watery or itchy eyes, red eyes and inflammation of the inner membranes of the eyelid.
The pollination season of olive typically lasts at the start of May up to the end of June. Some individuals who are highly sensitive to olive pollen are symptomatic only during the pollination season, but others end up with clinical symptoms throughout the year.
A contact allergy to olive oil is considered uncommon but some individuals can develop desensitization and allergies to olive oil. It is important to note that this contact allergy can trigger the development of hand eczema which is an annoying condition for those who handle olive oil.
Olive trees are capable of generating highly allergenic pollen which makes it difficult for highly sensitive individuals. The olive trees start pollination later in spring than other grasses and trees. In addition, since they are heavy pollinators, they can trigger severe asthma.
Treatment and prevention
Nasal steroids and antihistamines can be utilized to alleviate the symptoms of olive allergy. Decongestants or nasal irritation using a neti pot can help clear nasal congestion. In some cases, immunotherapy or allergy shots can provide the best effect over a period of time. This will cause the immune system to be desensitized and the effects of the allergy are drastically reduced.
When preventing flare-ups, the individual should stay indoors if the pollen count is high. The latest news on the pollen count can be seen on TV or radio. It is also recommended to utilize HEPA filters when vacuuming, showering and changing clothes after spending time outdoors.