Here in central Texas and the Hill Country, we suffer the curse of mountain cedar. And we’re not alone. This allergen affects areas north of Texas as well. But we seem to get the brunt of it. Every year come December (through February or so), “mountain cedar” is usually the first phrase out of someone’s mouth when someone else says they’re not feeling well.
So what are the symptoms of mountain cedar? According to doctors, these are the most common ways to know you suffer from what’s often called “cedar fever.”
Itchy eyes, nose and throat – This is the symptom that affects me more than others, especially itchy eyes. I wake up in the morning and apply pressure to my eyes for minutes at a time. Your eyes also tend to water easily, like you’ve been watching The Notebook for a week straight.
Sneezing. Lots of sneezing – Not to be outdone by an overall itchy feeling on some key parts of your face/head, mountain cedar sufferers also tend to sneeze – a lot. It’s not uncommon to break into a sneezing fit throughout the day. Keeping Kleenex nearby is a necessity.
Headaches and body aches – I can also attest to headaches being one of the main symptoms of mountain cedar. When pollen counts are high, my head feels like it’s going to explode. The body aches mostly come from repeated coughing.
So what do you do if you suffer from mountain cedar? If your symptoms aren’t too severe, check out an over-the-counter antihistamine. Benadryl seems to do the trick for me, but I know everyone’s body will react differently to other medications. If the symptoms are severe, see an allergist.
In addition, here are a few other, common tips for cedar fever sufferers:
- Stay inside as much as possible during the peak months (mid-December – mid-February). Sure, that sounds rough. But doctors say limiting your access to allergens is obviously a key to cutting down on the effects of mountain cedar.
- Keep windows and doors shut when you are inside your home. If you’re trying to stay away from the outdoors, it also makes sense to limit outside air from making its way into your home.
- Use high-quality air filters and change them regularly. During the peak mountain cedar months, you should change your air filter in your air conditioning unit every couple of weeks. Also, find filters with a higher MERV rating. Sure, these filters are more expensive. But they’ll also trap more particles before they hit your airflow. And if you’re suffering from mountain cedar, that is what’s important.