Cedar Fever on the Rise: What You Can Do to Save Your Holiday Spirit

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Thanks to some timely weather patterns, cedar pollen has showed up in the Texas Hill Country, in full force. If you have cedar fever, that could spell disaster for your holiday spirit. Many throughout Texas suffer from December through February with the cold-like symptoms that result from sensitivity to pollen.

Jim Rooni, Texas A&M Forest Service’s Head of Operations, told, “Many new Texans are finding Christmas on their backs. It’s the Ashe juniper, or juniperus ashei, and it’s debilitating.” First off, what they’re experiencing is not as a result of a cedar tree – a general misconception. The plant in question is, in fact, an evergreen, but it is a drought-tolerant juniper variety (as noted above,) which has spread throughout the Hill Country. They’re not an invasive species but are, in fact, native to Texas. There are roughly 10 million acres of them in the Lone Star State, according to Rooni. As a result, such things as pollen counts are reported on local stations by meteorologists as the numbers rise.

Cedar Fever on the Rise: What You Can Do to Save Your Holiday Spirit

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

For those sensitive to pollen, cedar fever symptoms may include a runny nose, itchy mucous membranes, nasal congestion, and red, swelled, or watery eyes. Even if you appear immune to the pollen now, it’s possible to develop an allergy later on. After anywhere from one to six years of living in a pollen-sensitive area, it’s been reported that it’s possible to develop cedar fever. How can you combat the issue? Rhiannon Ringo, an allergy and immunology physician assistant at Baylor Scott & White in Round Rock, stated that on windy days (when pollen can travel close to 100 miles,) planning for indoor activities can help. There are also a variety of medications, nasal sprays, antihistamines, and drops sold over-the-counter which might help alleviate the symptoms. After having experienced it for the first time, Ringo recommends seeing a board-certified allergist to determine how best to combat your cedar fever.