While we may be in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, cedar season is almost upon us. It is more important than ever to understand the symptoms and the source of this common central Texas allergy, including details about identifying symptoms of pollen allergies.
Cedar fever isn’t a flu or a virus – it’s an allergic reaction to the pollen released by mountain cedar trees. In Texas, the predominant species of mountain cedar is the Ashe Juniper.
According to Robert Edmonson, a biologist for Texas A & M Forest Service, the pollen isn’t particularly allergenic or harmful, but instead highly concentrated. “There’s just so much pollen in the air that it’s absolutely overwhelming the immune system. It is like trying to breathe in a dust storm.”
The source isn’t just limited to Ashe junipers: in more eastern parts of the state, there are also eastern red cedars that pollinate around the same time, between December and January. Cedar trees are triggered by colder weather.
It is not uncommon for people experiencing cedar fever to mistake their symptoms as a cold or flu. However, there are some sure signs to look out for including itchy, watery eyes, blocked nasal passages and sneezing. Edmonson says that, “If your mucus is running clear, it is an allergy.”
You can treat cedar fever by taking antihistamines after consulting with your physician, keeping doors and windows closed, changing your air conditioning filters, limiting the time you spend outdoors and removing cedar trees from your property.
Experts say that like the COVID-19 virus, a mask might be the best way to fight back. Always be sure to wash masks after use.
For more information visit TexasTree ID.