If you have never heard of "cedar fever," you are not alone -- and you probably don't hail from the Lone Star State either. I didn't know anything about it either, until I recently arrived in Austin, Texas to spend the holidays with my daughter.
Being a person highly allergic to all kinds of pollens, I was more than a bit dismayed to find out that not only am I living in a house with 3, count 'em, 3, dogs, I am also probably being exposed on a daily basis to the one tres that pollinates in the winter, the mountain cedar.
The mountain cedar tree is a type of juniper that grows in south and central Texas (where Austin is located). Its pollinating season is unfortunately, December through March, just when most people with seasonal allergies might be expecting a bit of a break from symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses and stuffy noses.
Cedar fever is as much of a misleading term as hay fever. It doesn't actually cause a fever, just allergy symptoms. If you are allergic to other types of juniper trees, or to cedar or cypress trees that bloom in the spring, you will likely be allergic to the mountain cedar as well, should you come into contact with it at this time of year.
I know I am definitely having symptoms here in Texas, but whether it's from the three dogs or the mountain cedar pollen, I have no way of knowing. But one thing is for sure, I am taking my daily antihistamine. I suggest you do the same if you visit Texas this time of year and tree pollen is one of your allergy triggers.
Also, follow these steps for avoiding pollen as best you can.
Stay indoors on warm, windy days -- yes, they're still having those in south & central Texas. That's when pollen levels tend to be highest.
Keep the windows closed in your house and car during this time of year too, to keep pollen out.
If you must go outdoors, do so in the afternoon and evening, when pollen levels tend to be lower.
Watch the local news or check Pollen.com to get your local pollen levels.
Published On: December 23, 2008