Cedar causing problems for asthma sufferers


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE


Posted on January 6, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 11:01 PM

AUSTIN -- People with cedar allergies may find it hard to believe that it could get any worse, but asthma sufferers are having an even harder time dealing with cedar fever.

Dr. Bill Howland of the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin is a regular on the set of KVUE.  However on this day he didn't speak to KVUE as a specialist, but as a patient.

"I've had a respiratory infection for about a week or 10 days, and it's induced my asthma," said Howland.

Howland blows into a spirometer that measures his lung function.

"It tells me I'm much better than I was two days ago because of the medicines I've been taking," Howland said. "It also says that my lungs are a little bit blocked up."

"Last month, we were seeing a large number of asthma patients basically due to all the viruses going around," said Allen Lieberman, M.D., an allergist with the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin. "We had some people who were dropping their lung functions 40 to 50 percent -- very significant declines."

It's a feeling lifelong asthma sufferer Delores Rogoyski knows all too well.  Her lungs aren't being blocked by a virus or respiratory infection -- they're being blocked by cedar.

"I can tell what the count is before I even look at the picture in the paper or watch the evening news," said Rogoyski. "I can tell when cedar is coming."

She said she's not looking forward to the next few months.

"You've got December, January then February," she said.  "By March, it's usually gone. That's when it can turn into an infection. When you get an infection, you get the asthma. It lingers and it stays longer."

"Either of the two can cause a significant asthma problem," said Lieberman.  "Then you put the two on top of each other, and it definitely compounds the problem. It's a very, very dangerous condition, because it makes getting the air out of your lungs very, very difficult."

Lieberman said it's important asthma patients stay on their daily medications especially during cedar season.  

Go here
for more information about the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin.

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