Have you noticed sneezing or worsening runny nose when you are around flowers? Patients often ask if they are allergic to flowers here in the Salt Lake Valley. The answer is more complicated than just a pollen allergy. Allergic symptoms occur when pollen lands and irritates a person’s mucous membranes (nose, eyes, or lungs). This occurs with trees, grasses, and weeds which release microscopic pollen into the air (airborne). Flower pollen is actually too large to be airborne and therefore does not land in those areas to cause symptoms.
What actually can be irritating is the flower’s fragrance, which is released from the flower. These are small, airborne particles that can cause a variety of symptoms that people experience including runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, headache, or increase in asthma/breathing symptoms. Some flowers have stronger scents/fragrance than others and these are the ones that tend to cause more symptoms. This can also happen with other items that contain that same floral scent, including candles, perfumes, or laundry detergents. As mentioned in other blog posts, this is a type of non-allergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis.
Tips to help avoid and treat these bothersome symptoms:
Do you or your family members have persistent nasal congestion or runny nose? Allergy Associates of Utah is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialty clinic serving the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area with 2 convenient locations in Murray and West Jordan. Led by specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, the practice strives to help people of all ages and background achieve success. Request an appointment by phone or online at either Allergy Associates of Utah location for expert allergy and immunology care today.