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When one thinks of trees, it's not uncommon to picture the outdoors, green leaves, and shade from the sun and heat. Trees help sustain life in a number of ways, such as filtering air and providing food and shelter for wildlife. In addition to real trees, there are also figurative trees that outline one's lineage. These trees are known as family trees, and although they are not real, physical objects, they may also have a great impact on one's life and well-being.

A family tree is a type of chart that is sometimes drawn in the shape of a tree. Typically, they start with a single person or couple and might branch out to include their children and their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses, and the following generations leading to the most current. Alternately, one might begin with the present day and work backward, charting a person's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth. An accurate family tree requires thorough research and can be a lengthy undertaking. Often, the person who starts the tree will conduct interviews with family members, particularly older generations. They may search genealogical records and newspapers for information about relatives who are not well-known or who may have died long ago. A family tree can even help improve the health of family members by exposing a predisposition to certain types of diseases. By discovering a potential history of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, families can take preventative steps and begin living healthier lives.

Real trees also have an impact on the daily lives of one's family members. While they are an attractive presence in one's yard and neighborhood, the wrong trees can be problematic for people who suffer from allergies. An allergic reaction is an immune response to an allergen. When it comes to trees, this allergic response often includes sneezing, itching and watering eyes, congestion, and a running or itching nose. Symptoms can be more severe and even dangerous for people who suffer from breathing problems such as asthma.

Tree pollen and mold spores are two allergens that are associated with trees. Tree pollen is small, dry grains that plants release into the air as part of their reproductive process. These grains are carried by the wind and can be inhaled by a person, which may result in an allergic reaction. Not all trees produce pollen that will cause allergies, and not all people will react to it. Some of the varieties of trees that produce this type of allergen include cedar, walnut, hickory, oak, ash, and elm trees.

While there are medications that can help prevent or alleviate allergy symptoms, they may not be enough for people who suffer from more severe or troublesome reactions. The best way to prevent an allergic response is to avoid the offending trees whenever possible. If trees on one's property are problematic, it may be necessary to have them removed entirely. Choosing to remove a tree is a big decision, even when it is a necessary one. When planning this step, be sure to replace the tree in question with a non-offending tree such as a plum, dogwood, or any other type of tree that will not cause an allergic reaction for the residents of the property.



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