If you are still experiencing winter weather where you live, you may be wondering why I am posting about tree pollen allergies and cedar fever in February. The truth is, in some areas, tree pollen levels are already in full swing. You see, certain cedar trees bloom during the winter, rather than during spring as most species do.
And, unfortunately, the pollen they produce can trigger some pretty intense nasal allergy symptoms. If you live in Texas or other areas where the weather is warming and the winds are blowing, you may know what I’m talking about.
The Facts About Cedar Fever
First of all, cedar fever is not really a fever at all. The term refers to an allergic reaction to the pollen of the mountain cedar, a juniper tree that is commonly found in southern and central Texas.
People sensitive to other types of juniper, cedar or cypress trees that bloom in the spring may also react to the mountain cedar. Examples are:
- Arizona cypress in northern Arizona
- Western juniper along the northern California coast
The pollinating season for the mountain cedar is December through March, so we are currently in the midst of “cedar fever” season. The mountain cedar releases unusually huge amounts of pollen into the air during these months.
other types of juniper trees, or to cedar or cypress trees that bloom in the spring - See more at: https://www.healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3387/53205/winter-pollens#sthash.UhuDav3G.dpufother types of juniper trees, or to cedar or cypress trees that bloom in the spring other types of juniper trees, or to cedar or cypress trees that bloom in the spring - See more at: https://www.healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3387/53205/winter-pollens#sthash.UhuDav3G.dpuf
The result to exposure to this pollen, at least in sensitive people, can be the typical symptoms of allergy:
- runny nose
- nasal congestion
And, if you have asthma or eye allergies, expect to see an increase in the symptoms of those conditions as well.
other types of juniper trees, or to cedar or cypress trees that bloom in the spring - See more at: https://www.healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3387/53205/winter-pollens#sthash.UhuDav3G.dpuf
How to Deal with Cedar Fever
Prevention and avoidance of exposure to the tree pollen is always the best strategy. Steps you can take:
- Monitor pollen levels by visiting Pollen.com or listening to your local news.
- Stay indoors on warm & windy days, when pollen levels are highest.
- If you must go out, do so in the afternoon or evening, when pollen levels tend to be lower.
- Keep windows closed, both at home and when traveling in the car. Use air conditioning for ventilation.
- Don’t hang clothing out to dry during this period, as pollen can accumulate on the clothes.
No matter how careful you are, chance are you won’t be able to avoid pollen altogether. So the next best strategy is to make sure you’re using whatever allergy medicine your healthcare team has determined is best for you. Ideally, you’ll start taking it a week or two before pollen season even begins. That gives the medicine time to come to full effectiveness for your greatest relief.
Nasal saline rinses, used sparingly, can also be helpful in washing pollen out of your airways and in reducing your symptoms.
Kathi is an experienced consumer health education writer, with a prior career in nursing that spanned more than 30 years — much of it in the field of home health care. Over the past 15 years, she’s been an avid contributor for a number of consumer health websites, specializing in asthma, allergy, and COPD. She writes not only as a healthcare professional, but also as a lifelong sufferer of severe allergies and mild asthma, and as a caregiver for her mother with COPD.