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In northern latitudes, birch pollen is believed to be the most reactive of all allergenic tree pollens, with up to 20% of hay fever suffers being allergic to its pollen grains. In the United Kingdom, it is one of the primary causes of hay fever and affects up to 25% of allergy sufferers every year.
See our Recommended Treatments page for help on relieving your birch pollen allergy.
Many people that are allergic to birch also develop allergies to certain foods. Some of these foods that can cause allergic reactions are peaches, plums, pears, cherries, nectarines, kiwis and tomatoes, carrots, peanuts, celery, soybean. However, the most common triggers are apples and hazelnut.
This combination of pollen and food allergy is known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). OAS can result in symptoms such as itching, swelling of the lips, tongue and throat and occasionally rashes, hives and anaphylaxis in severe reactions.
Birch trees are easiest to identify by their long trunks and light colored bark. The bark of all birch trees is marked with long horizontal lines and the bark also often separates into thin papery plates.