All you ever wanted to know about the allergy to olive trees

All you ever wanted to know about the allergy to olive trees

Did you know that the allergy to olive trees affects 60 per cent of the estimated 8 million allergy sufferers that exist in Spain?  In round figures, 4,800,000 people are allergic to the pollen from olive trees.

These figures mean that the olive tree is the second major cause of allergies in our country.  In first place are to be found the plants from the family of grasses.

We love our olive trees.  We’re very satisfied to produce one of the best extra virgin olive oils and proud to be following a Mediterranean tradition which goes back centuries and centuries.

Not for nothing is the olive tree the cultural icon of many of the countries bordering the Mediterranean.  But the pollen from the olive tree causes a good number of problems.

In this post, we’ve proposed to analyze everything about the allergy to olive trees.

The allergy to olive trees is caused by the pollen

Let’s begin from the beginning.  To know what causes this type of allergy and we have to go directly to the pollen produced by olive trees.

The pollen produced by olive trees can be easily recognized because it’s a type of dust which comes from the flowers on the tree.  The flowers give off this dust during the process of pollination.  This process normally begins halfway through or towards the end of the month of April and lasts well into the month of June.

A uniform process of pollination doesn’t exist.  It depends on the area and the climate.  In some areas, this dust gathers in massive quantities.

The wind carries this pollen towards pollination, that is to say, to fertilize the flowers.

This process can produce a real landscape spectacle.  But unfortunately, it can become a real ‘torture’ for those people who suffer from allergy to the pollen produced by olive trees.

Syntoms of the allergy to olive trees

People suffering from this type of allergy begin to suffer from it when the concentration is more than 500 grains per cubic metre.  In the province of Aicante, where our olive trees are to found, the concentration is normally 1,300 grains per cubic metre, according to information provided by Infosalus.

When this concentration is reached, people suffering from this allergy start to notice:

  • Itching
  • A dry nose
  • Runny eyes
  • Stinging eyes
  • A blocked up nose

When people suffering from the allergy have breathed in the dust in the quantity we mentioned in the paragraph before, their organism can’t deal with it.The body is contaminated.  There’s no other remedy than to look for pharmaceutical treatments, which are:

  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Corticosteroid inhalers
  • Vaccines

Remedies for the allergy to olive trees

There are people who suffer really seriously form this class of allergy.  What can they do to avoid it? We’re going to give you some advice here:

  1. Don’t go out into the country, above all if there are olive trees around. It’s not recommendable either to do physical exercise or sport.
  2. Know when maximum pollination is going to occur
  3. Don’t leave the house on very windy days
  4. Go out with a good mask with a filter and good sunglasses as well.
  5. If you’re in the car, keep all of the windows closed.
  6. Close the air vents in the car. Articles can also get in that way.  (Modern cars are now fitted with anti-pollen filters but prevention is better than cure).
  7. At home, it’s a good idea to carry out nasal washing with salt water or with physiological saline solution Boil the water and add bicarbonate of soda. Let it cool and use a syringe to put it up the nostrils.

Eating habits during the period of the allergy

To prevent allergy to olive trees, it’s also necessary to take eating habits into account. You must try to go for natural products.

It’s a good idea to increase intake of fresh fruit and vegetales because they contain vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants which help lessen the effects of this allergy.

Honey and tea are also very good.

You mustn’t stop using extra virgin olive oil because, in the same way as fruit and vegetables, it’s very rich in vitamins and antioxidants. These lasts ones are especially important because they’re going to reinforce your immune system.

Bue we want to insist that, although you eat these foods and take the precautions we mentioned a few moments ago, you must still go to the doctor. It’s the best thing to do to avoid more severe episodes of allergy to olive trees.

Pollution and climate change

According to the latest studies carried out by the Infosalus site, pollution and cllimate change are contributing to the fact that allergies are becoming more and more severe.

The president of the Allergy Committee of the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (Comité de Alergología de la Sociedad Española de Alergología e Inmunología Clínica (SEAIC)), Ángel Mora, has made it known that the emission of polluting particles coming  principally from heating and diesel engines, alter the structure of pollen  and for that reason, it is becoming more and more aggressive.

What is crtain is that olive groves are extremely beautiful and the period of pollination offers nature lovers spectacular images.  It’s is also certain that the olive tree is, par excellence, the Spanish tree and the one representing the Mediterranean.     Olive oil forms part of our ancient culture.  But we can’t get away from the fact that the process of pollination is causing  thousands and thousands of people certain allergy problems.

In this post, we’ve told you all you ever wanted to know about the allergy to olive trees.  This an allergy which almost five million people in Spain suffer from and second in importance only to the allergy caused by grasses. We’ve told you about the syntoms and some measures you can take to prevent it.

Are you allergic to olive trees? How do you deal with it? With natural remedies or do you have to go to the doctor to get treatment? Tell us in the comments section.

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Masía el AltetShelby PalmerNatalieLaurie Recent comment authors
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Thank you for this post. I live in the US and my property has more than a dozen olive trees on it (Mission olive). I have discovered I am very allergic (hives, swelling eyelids, nasal congestion, lung congestion) to the leaves and pollen. I take an anti histamine and I… Read more »


Hi, I am Natalie and in Spain during april-june I suffer a lot form olive tree pollen. This extreme that I get a bad eczema, itching like a burn on arms, face and chest..also eye infection, swollen eye lids. I prefer to take natural medicine, and a good hydrating cream.… Read more »

Shelby Palmer
Shelby Palmer

What about the Black olive tree that bares no olives that is indigenous to Florida? When is the worst pollen season for that.?