AUSTIN - The coughing, sneezing and itchy eyes can mean only one thing: the peak of cedar allergy season is approaching.
Monday, the highest count of cedar pollen we've seen all season was documented, but levels could reach 10 times higher than that in the coming days.
Allergists said we didn't see the typical spike in cedar pollen that we normally do during the holidays. Now, as the dry, windy weather moves in, large amounts of pollen is expected to drop into the air.
Eric Quinnell knows all too well what cedar pollen can do to a person.
"It's really bad. You get a whole lot of sneezing and your eyes swell up," Quinnell said. "It made me unable to even work or go to school."
When he first started seeing these symptoms years ago, he came to Austin allergist Dr. William Howland for help.
"The number one thing to take for nasal allergies is a nasal cortisone spray," Dr. Howland said.
Dr. Howland said these sprays can heal the nose tissue the way antihistamines can't. If the spray doesn't work, he recommends adding cortisone pills and even allergy shots into the mix. That's what's worked for Quinnell.
"The thing about allergy shots though is they need to be started about six months before the season starts," Dr. Howland said.
If you're looking for a quick, natural fix, longtime Austin acupuncturist David Jones developed a product that he believes can help.
His "Easy Breather" is made from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
You can take it in pill form or in droplets.
"It's got a few interesting ingredients that you can't get in anything else, and it works great"
One of the main ingredients is a bug: cicada.
There are also a few other natural remedies but you should consult with a doctor before making any decisions.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story listed natural remedies that may help with cedar-related allergies. Interested people should consult with a doctor before trying out any new medications.
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