Mountain cedar season heading for Central Texas


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Chief Photojournalist SCOTT GUEST

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 8:50 AM

AUSTIN -- Are you sniffling and sneezing? You may not have a cold.

The upcoming cedar season already has some feeling under the weather, and allergists predict it's only going to get worse.

The holidays won't be so happy for Gail Neas if she stays in Central Texas.

“In fact I leave this part of the country during cedar season, I'm just back here for Thanksgiving,” Neas said.

Neas stopped by the Allergy Center of Austin on Monday because she's already feeling tightness in her chest. Dr. Bill Howland says so are plenty of others.

“We've already had some cedar pollen come out of the Hill Country,” the allergist said.

While the recent rains helped the drought, it also sent cedar pollen production into overdrive.

“I expect this to be a worse season than the last one because we've had so much rainfall,” Dr. Howland said. “The male cedar trees are already turning brown. There's lots of cones on them already, and last year we didn't have any brown cones until late in December.”

From December to February the mountain cedar pollen count in Central Texas will be at an all-time high. And for many cedar fever can become a sneezing, itchy-eyed, runny- nosed nightmare.

“The mountain cedar pollen season in Austin is what makes this the worst place for allergies in the country,” Dr. Howland said.

Dr. Howland says there are several ways to try and keep cedar symptoms at bay.  Start taking an over-the-counter antihistamine now. Prescription nasal sprays that have cortisol and antihistamines also work well. There's also effective over-the-counter eye drops that can help. 

Experts say any way you choose to battle cedar fever, if your symptoms get too hard to handle, paying a visit to an allergist may be your best bet.

Dr. Howland tells us dry windy days are the perfect time for cedar pollen to start flying, and an arctic blast scheduled to hit the area later this week may be just what’s needed to send clouds of pollen floating across Central Texas.

Check out KVUE's Allergy Forecast here.

Stay up-to-date by downloading KVUE's FREE Austin Allergy app.

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