Suffering seasonal allergies, Boise? Cottonwood is likely culprit

One of the signs of spring in Boise: sniffling, sneezing and sensitive eyes.

Tree pollen is one of the biggest causes of spring allergies for Treasure Valley residents, and cottonwoods top the list of offenders. Cottonwoods grow along the Boise River — one of the iconic trees in the City of Trees.

Pollen counts rise with spring temperatures. They have been unusually high over the past week.

Cottonwoods are primarily to blame for seasonal allergy misery right now, said Dr. G. William “Bill” Palmer of Boise Valley Asthma and Allergy Clinic. Juniper and maple pollens are also high.

Palmer said a common misconception that people have is that they are allergic to cottonwood when the trees’ “cotton” flies during the summer. Those fluff balls are seed pods, which aren’t allergenic. People experiencing allergies in May or June are typically allergic to grass pollen, Palmer said.

Some tips from Dr. Palmer for getting through spring allergies:

▪  Avoid the allergen (pollen). Stay indoors. Close windows. Run the air conditioning.

▪  Treat specific systems. Use nasal spray for nose symptoms and eye drops for eye symptoms.

▪  Get allergy shots. Keep in mind that it may take some time to see relief. Don’t expect a quick fix.