"Cedar Fever" hits Central Texas

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by KELI RABON / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on December 29, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 29 at 7:22 PM

AUSTIN -- Just the sight of cedar is enough to make Millie Stefonsky start itching.

"Itchy eyes, very watery eyes, scratchy throat, not having that energy we all need,"  Stefonsky said.

After years of fighting cedar fever, Stefonsky tried allergy shots and says they've made a world of difference.

"I swear by it. I think that's the best way to go," Stefonsky said. 

Dr. Alan Lieberman with the Allergy & Asthma Center of Austin says not everyone is so proactive. He says many wait until cedar counts rise to take action.  

"If today cedar is 7, 'I'm feeling okay, and I'm not taking my medicine.' Well you wake up the next day, and it's 1,000, it's too late. The problems and symptoms already get going, and it's hard to make it better when it's already flaring up. It's a lot easier to prevent it," Dr. Lieberman said.

Lieberman says it's too late to start shots, but antihistamines and nasal sprays can help.
Thursday's cedar count was 1673 gr/m3, signaling that allergy sufferers will need relief soon.  

"I don't recall seeing a count of 1,000 in December. Usually those are things we typically see in the first or second week of January. So despite the fact that we had this major drought over the summer, unprecedented, it sounds like the cedar is still present and still very potent," Dr. Lieberman said. 

"The cedar trees in my opinion aren't as bad as what they get made out to be," arborist Keith Brown said. 

Brown says cedar trees from across the country contribute to the high levels here. So if you considered chopping yours down as quick solution, Brown says that's just wishful thinking.

"Removing a tree because of your allergens is really just removing the tree in vain. It's not going to help your problems," Brown said.

You can follow Keli on her KVUE Facebook page by clicking here.

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