Town Square

Post a New Topic

Pollen source - Chinese elm?

Original post made by Hayfevered on Sep 15, 2010

For the first time in over ten years I got severe hayfever symptoms this past weekend in Palo Alto. The symptoms tend to improve in air conditioned buildings and when I wear a face mask, so I'm pretty sure it's hayfever. The symptoms also improve when I'm in Menlo Park or Mountain View. I checked the pollen count info online, and it appears that the only significant source of pollen in the air for the last few days has been elm trees. I know that I am allergic to Black Walnut pollen, though my springtime allergies are not this severe.

I did some more online research and found that Chinese elm trees flower in autumn and that the City of Palo Alto is in the process of planting more Chinese elms as street trees.

Yet I also found a web site that identified Chinese elm as a tree that should be avoided by allergy sufferers. Doesn't the City of Palo Alto take these things into consideration when deciding on what type of tree to plant? Could it be that the severity of my allergic reaction has to do with the increasing number of Chinese elm trees in Palo Alto?

Coincidentally, I mentioned my allergy problem to a neighbor, and she told me that she started getting allergy symptoms at about the same time.

I'd like to hear about anyone else who suffered similar hayfever symptoms this weekend.

By the way, the web site indicates that the elm pollen count is expected to drop tomorrow. Good news for us allergy sufferers in Palo Alto.

Comments (10)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The BAAPCD has the authority to prohibit non-native plants that dispense harmful pollens, but they chose not to exercise that power. Talk to them.


Posted by Hay Fever, a resident of Duveneck School
on Sep 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

August and September are the worst months for tree pollen allergies. Gets me every year.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Same here. I was sneezing badly on Sat and Sunday in particular. Went to a ballgame in Oakland and felt better - came back and did worse. Took Claritin which helped somewhat, but I hadn't needed it in a number of years. Seems better now.


Posted by me too sniffling, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I have a beautiful Chinese Elm tree in my backyard. It's huge. Fell in love with it when I bought my house. The first fall after moving into my house (1988), I got my first case of allergies. I told my doctor that I'm allergic to August. It took several years to really pin-point it to the tree but I am very allergic to that tree in August. My nose keeps running until it starts to rain in November. Every August I want to bring it down but then I realize there are so many Chinese Elms in Palo Alto.


Posted by Another sufferer, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Add me to the list.

Chinese elms are all over Palo Alto, and I planted one in my back yard 15 years ago! That was obviously before I knew I was allergic to them, actually very allergic to them. I get allergy shots (have for years), and yet August through November are still difficult months for me. This year seems to be particularly bad. Is it because of the abundant rain last winter? I don't know.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2010 at 3:25 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Perhaps we need work on chemically castrating plants, so they no longer produce pollen. This is one low hanging fruit not harvested.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2010 at 3:05 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Dang - sometimes even a blind pig finds an acorn. Unknown to me when I wrote the above, apparently there is thriving research in chemical castration of plants to control pollen production, some even by marijuana growers. Since allergies are one of the last human maladies tackled with source controls, and since allergies are a leading cause of reduced efficiency, the failure of the Air Pollution Control Districts to consider pollen control is unconscionable.


Posted by SeptOctAllergySufferer, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 24, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I live in Menlo Park and have a Chinese Elm in my front yard. My nose is completely blocked today and watering like a tap. I wonder if an indoor air filter will help.


Posted by Allergies Too, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Sep 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm

We have Chinese Elm in our front yard too. Researched air filters and purchased the well-rated BlueAir indoor air filter from Bed Bath Beyond with the 20% off coupon: Web Link

It is quite large but is very quiet on low - can hardly hear it. Does it help? It's in our bedroom, so perhaps helps a bit at night, but pollen is everywhere outside. I dose-up on Claritin and when that stops working after a couple of weeks, use Flonase nose spray (prescription) which helps. I think the drugs probably help more than the air filter, but my allergies are only moderate.


Posted by Honest Abe, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:06 am

"I'd like to hear about anyone else who suffered similar hayfever symptoms this weekend."

Go to a doc.

Using the internet?

Ahem.

"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 21 comments | 3,343 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 23 comments | 2,185 views

Finding mentors in would-be bosses
By Jessica T | 0 comments | 1,894 views

PAUSD Leadership Challenges
By Paul Losch | 23 comments | 1,672 views

A memorable Paly prom
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,085 views