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Choosing Flowers that Won’t Cause an Allergic Reaction

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • When selecting flowers to present to your loved one, great care should be taken to ensure that those flowers do not aggravate an allergy, or that they cause the least reaction possible.
  • Initial symptoms to lookout for with regard to an allergic reaction to flowers include coughing, sneezing, itching, breaking out in a rash, stinging, runny eyes and wheezing.
  • If you are still unsure what is causing your allergy, you should consult with a specialist in the field of allergies, in order to analyze your symptoms or undergo an allergy test. Both of these options can provide answers to the true cause of your condition, and help you to properly prevent against allergic reactions happening in the future.

 

Studies have found that pollen from grass and small weeds are more likely to be allergens when compared to those found in flowers. That being said, direct contact with flowers through the nose can still cause an extreme allergic reaction. We are usually unable to see it with the naked eye, so when we smell the flowers, we are often unaware that the flower pollen is being inhaled, and causing problems in our respiratory system, as well as other potential issues, including asthma, rhinitis and skin allergies. There are numerous symptoms which may present themselves in such circumstances, such as frequently sneezing; an itchy, runny nose; itching, red and swollen eyes; or a rash where the skin has made contact with the flower, leaf or pollen of the plant.

As we get closer to the day of romance, many of us will start to think about expressing our ‘love’ with a bouquet of flowers. We should be careful to choose flowers which have the least potential to cause an allergic reaction, or those which carry no risk at all.

Select flowers which either have a light scent or those which have no scent at all

because research has found that a flower’s scent is actually a volatile oil that is capable of stimulating an allergic reaction in addition to being an irritable substance. Thus, people with an existing allergy suffer a nasal reaction, referred to as nasal hyper-responsiveness, to both the allergen and the irritable substance present. Hence, if a flower with a scent is selected, it could result in a serious allergic reaction.

Choose flowers with petals that cover the pollen

or those that do not release any pollen into the air whatsoever. Although pollen particles of flowers are usually larger in size when compared to grass pollen, meaning they do not usually become airborne and rely on insects for pollination. However, some research detects the blood levels of specific immunoglobulin E after contact with some flowers, especially in people who work in the horticultural industry, like rose growers in Turkey. This shows that some types of flowers are capable of dispersing their pollen into the air, and therefore capable of stimulating an allergic reaction.

Pick flowers that do not have oils or spikes on the stem

because these may lead to a rash, or contact dermatitis if the oils, tiny hairs or spikes make contact with the skin. Flowers belonging to the chrysanthemum, lily, tulip or gerbera families are particularly harmful in this regard.

Nevertheless, in cases where an allergic reaction occurs, or where a patient is unsure of whether they are allergic to flowers but symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, an itchy rash, breathing difficulties, or itchy, red and runny eyes present themselves, an appointment to consult a specialist physician in the field of allergies should be made as soon as possible. This will enable the doctor to make a diagnosis of the causes, or carry out an allergy test, in order to provide treatment and prevention that can ensure any potential allergies are kept at bay.


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Buntita Bamrungchaowkasem, M.D. Summary: Pediatrics Pediatric Allergy And Immunology