Cedar fever woes get worse thanks to the cold weather. Here’s how

dfwnewsa | January 17, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Cedar fever woes get worse thanks to the cold weather. Here’s how

Cedar fever in North Texas hits its peak in January. The most common species of mountain cedar in North Texas is the Eastern Redcedar. (Courtesy photo | Texas A&M Forest Service)
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Are your sinuses bothering you? It might not be COVID-19 or the flu — it could be symptoms of cedar fever. 

Cedar first popped up in early November and jumped into the moderate category by mid-December before hitting its peak this month.

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“This is about the time that we see the peak in cedar fever with juniper pollen each year and that’s where we’re at,” said Jonathan Motsinger, department head of the Texas A&M Forest Service.

A new wave of pollen is expected to hit North Texas following the recent cold front, he said.

“A lot of times, what triggers heavy release of pollen in these trees is the passage of major cold fronts,” Motsinger said. “I would expect to see some more pollen in the air, at higher levels, as we warm up and come out of this major cold snap that we’ve had for the last few days.” 

Here’s what you can do to deal with the sniffles. 

What is cedar fever?

Cedar fever is an allergic reaction to the pollen released by mountain cedar trees. The most common species of mountain cedar in North Texas are the Eastern Redcedar and Ashe Juniper. 

The pollen from junipers isn’t particularly allergic or harmful. Because the density and quantity can affect even those who aren’t generally susceptible to allergies, winter is the worst season for allergens, according to the American Sinus Institute. 

“Some people may be really sensitive to Juniper pollen, but not so much to oak pollen or ragweed,” said Motsinger. 

Common seasonal allergies in North Texas:

February to June: tree pollen

March to September: grass pollen

Year-round, but peaks through summer: mold

August to November: Ragweed

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December to February: Mountain cedar pollen.

(Source | Children’s Health)

Common allergy symptoms include congestion, itchy and red eyes, headaches, runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. People who have severe allergies could potentially run a mild fever. 

How to deal with sniffles

You can deal with allergies by taking allergy medications, avoiding areas with high pollen, showering after coming in for the day and, for more severe cases, receiving allergy shots. 

Medication options for cedar pollen include nasal sprays, eye drops and oral treatments such as Curist Allergy Relief, Zyrtec and Claritin, or generic over-the-counter allergy medications with levocetirizine, cetirizine or loratadine as an active ingredient, according to Mayo Clinic. If one product doesn’t work for you, another may be more effective.

Allergy shots can offer a more permanent solution. The treatment, which is administered every three to five years, builds up a person’s immune system to stop or reduce allergy attacks. 

“The bottom line is that allergy medicines work best as preventives rather than waiting until you’re absolutely miserable,” Dr. Susan R. Bailey previously told the Report. 

Pollen is usually the heaviest in the morning hours, so putting off outdoor activities until the afternoons can be helpful. 

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Texas A&M Forest Service also suggests choosing an air purifier with a high filter rating to fight against pollen and vacuuming regularly to pick up any dust or pollen that has been deposited in the home. 

“This is just part of life in Texas and we just try to manage it as best we can,” said Motsinger. “We may hate the trees at this time of year, but we’re thankful for them in the summer whenever we get some shade. We have to take the bad with the good.” 

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here. 

David Moreno is the health reporter for the Fort Worth Report. His position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact him at david.moreno@fortworthreport.org or @davidmreports on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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