If you live in South Texas you likely know someone who suffers from mountain cedar allergies. From December to early spring the pollen from mountain cedar blows through the air. The combination of warm days and cold nights are perfect for the mountain cedar pollen to quickly develop. With the change in temperature the pollen is released from the trees floating and drifting on the wind.
Pollen levels rise quickly and with the windy weather common in the hill country surrounding Austin and San Antonio. With the light airborne pollen it often seems as if the air is hazy with pollen.Cars are often coated with the yellow pollen.
With all the pollen floating around it’s easy to understand why allergic reactions can occur. Mountain cedar allergy is really an allergy to the ashe juniper. Known as mountain cedar, though it is not a cedar tree, the allergy is also known as cedar fever.
There are many possible ways of treating this allergy. You can use prescription and over the counter allergy medications. If you do use allergy medications, take them the same time every day. This keeps your blood level of medication up where it can fight the pollen. Taking the allergy medications only when absolutely needed means your body has to wait until the blood level is where the medication can counter the effect of the cedar pollen
Be careful when driving or using machinery or tools. The problem is many of these medications make people sleepy and are unsafe to use while driving.
Here are some tips, which may help you manage your mountain cedar allergy.
1. Exercise in the afternoon or evening. Cedar pollen counts are highest in the morning.
2. Shower in the evening and wash your hair. This way you’re not taking cedar pollen to bed with you.
3. Keep pollen coated clothes separate from other clothing. Leave shoes at the door to avoid tracking pollen throughout your home. Or leave a bath mat inside your door where people wipe off their feet prior to walking around your home. Wash the bath mat every other day and replace with a freshly washed mat. You may want to put your clothes in the dryer on air to remove the pollen.
4. Keep windows closed in the home and car. Use a HEPA filter on your air conditioning unit and change frequently especially from December to April (prime mountain cedar pollen months)
5. On bad pollen days consider wearing a facemask to filter out the cedar pollen. Facemasks are widely used in Japan where cedar pollen is also a big problem.
6. Use a dust cloth, which holds the dust and is disposable or washable. Or use a damp cloth to wipe down countertops and surfaces. Put the used cloth in the washing machine after using.
7. Once cedar season is over consider removing the cedar trees on your property and replacing them with other trees.
Desensitization treatments either from an allergist or acupuncturist have worked for some people. There are options available to treat mountain cedar allergies. Talk with your health care provider to find the best choice for you because suffering from mountain cedar allergy is no fun.