Central Texas is known for wine tasting in Fredericksburg, keeping Austin weird, and the Texas Aggies. It is also known for Cedar Fever. In fact, while the rest of the country is wishing each other happy holidays, we’re asking each other how we’re managing with Cedar Fever, because the worst months are November through February.
And speaking of worst, the last two years turned out to be some of the worst for cedar pollen count on record, and the 2018 season could see even higher counts, as Hurricane Harvey breathed new life into the region’s flora. So those cedar trees are ready to absolutely blow their pollen far and wide.
Cedar Fever Symptoms
If you live in Central Texas, you probably already know Cedar Fever can make you feel Bad with a capital “B”. Those people who are allergic to pollen from the mountain cedar trees (which are the most allergenic tree in all of Central Texas) may feel absolutely sick during this season.
Oddly enough, Cedar Fever does not cause a fever, though people who suffer from the allergy may feel slightly warm due to the inflammation triggered by the allergic reaction. But fever aside, there are plenty of other symptoms that can make you miserable.
The most common symptoms of Cedar Fever are:
- Runny nose
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Nasal blockage
- Fatigue (including chronic fatigue)
- Mild headache
- Facial discomfort
- Sore throat
- Partial loss of smell
- Ear plugging
If you are new to Central Texas, you may be taken by surprise when Cedar Fever season begins. You may think that what you are seeing on the horizon is smoke, but what you are really seeing is airborne pollen! The tiny pollen granules can travel hundreds of miles, finding their way to your nasal passages.
If you’re feeling a bit smug reading this, assuming since you do not have allergies you will be safe, think again. Many people, after being exposed to cedar pollen year after year, develop an allergy to it eventually. You could be fine for 5 years, 10 years, even 20 years and then one day… BAM… you’ve got Cedar Fever! Generally speaking, people will start to feel the symptoms of Cedar Fever after living in Central Texas for three years.
Why does this happen?
Your immune system is kind of like a police precinct. When a new gang moves into town, the cops keep a close watch on the members to see what kind of unlawful behavior they may be up to.
After being exposed to cedar pollen on a fairly regular basis, your immune system begins to recognize the pollen as a potential threat to your health. Eventually, the signal goes out to your white blood cells to attack the foreign invaders, and you experience an allergic reaction.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family from cedar pollen, so you can all breathe a little easier.
7 Remedies for Cedar Fever
Unless you are lucky enough to work from home and plan on ordering in all of your groceries, it’ll be pretty hard to completely avoid contact with cedar pollen. Heck, even if you could stay in your home without leaving for 4 months straight, that pollen would still find its way inside your home.
Barring complete isolation and duct-taping every crack and crevice of your home’s structure, here are some other ways you can lessen the symptoms of Cedar Fever.
- Keep Doors and Windows Shut
This seems obvious but there are those people who know the pollen is out there, seeking its next victim, and yet they still like to have the doors and windows open on a particularly pretty day. Keep everything shut on those days when the pollen count is extremely high.
- Dust Often
It’s a good idea to dust your home with a damp cloth often to pick up any pollen that has gotten inside. While you’re at it, vacuum your rugs and carpets more than you normally would and, if possible, use a vacuum with a built-in HEPA filter.
- Bathe Often
If you have been outdoors for longer periods of time, immediately throw your clothes in the wash when you get home and hop in the shower to get all of the pollen off of your body and out of your hair.
It’s also a good idea to bathe your pets often if they spend any time outdoors.
- Nasal Irrigation
Using a commercial squeeze bottle or neti pot and a little saline solution, irrigate your nasal passages once or twice a day to remove any pollen and mucus buildup.
- OTC Treatments
Whether it’s pills, nasal sprays or eye drops, over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can help control symptoms and make life more bearable. Certain meds like Flonase and Nasonex, which used to be prescription only, are now available as OTC allergy medicines, and many people with Cedar Fever swear by them.
- RX Remedies
If you’re one of the unlucky ones who don’t get any relief from OTC meds, speak with your doctor about getting either a prescription formula of an OTC drug, which are generally more effective, or a prescription for oral or nasal corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Use an Air Purifier
Portable air purifiers are an excellent way to remove pollutants, such as cedar pollen, from the air in your home. It’s best to purchase an air filter that uses a HEPA filter, as these filters can trap even the tiniest of particles.
As an added bonus, while your air purifier is removing cedar pollen from your home’s air, it will also remove dust mites, animal dander and gaseous pollutants such as pesticides, paints and adhesives. Your whole house will feel lighter and cleaner once you begin using an air purifier.
Pure Breeze Solutions - Support a Local Business!
We know a lot about Cedar Fever because we’re local Austinites. Every year when you’re suffering, we’re suffering, too. If you are considering using an air filter to help decrease the effects of Cedar Fever, we hope you’ll consider supporting a local business by purchasing an air purifier from Pure Breeze Solutions.
We have a large selection of air purifiers with HEPA filters and pre-filters, so take a moment to look through our inventory. Have any questions? Feel free to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help you select the right purifier(s) based on the square footage of your home.
There is no denying that Cedar Fever is a real pain in the butt, and head. And while you may feel like tearing down all of the cedar trees around Central Texas, that would negatively impact the delicate ecosystem and ruin much of the beauty of this area. Plus, cedar trees are like roaches, they just keep coming back.
Nope, as long as we all live in beautiful Central Texas, there are some things that we all have to deal with, like bad traffic, the Aggies losing, and Cedar Fever. But if you use these 7 strategies, you should be able to breathe a little easier this time of year.