As temperatures drop and we move into the winter months, Central Texans should be aware that the dreaded Cedar Fever allergy season is upon us.
Beginning mid-December and running through mid-February, Central Texas begins to experience a significant increase in pollen count as cedar trees across the region being to pollinate. Many Austin-area residents consequently experience itchy and watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, body aches and fatigue. These unmistakable cold-like symptoms are often characteristic of more than just the common cold – they may be signs of Cedar Fever.
Many who experience these symptoms assume they are suffering from seasonal allergies that are being triggered by the change in weather. However, the defining symptom of Cedar Fever is the actual fever that comes along with the sniffing and sneezing. It is extremely important to note that seasonal allergies do not typically produce a fever. But colds and flus do include fever, so identifying a case of Cedar Fever rather than the flu is an important distinction in effectively treating those uncomfortable symptoms.
Managing Cedar Fever can be as simple as visiting a local clinic, where a clinician can diagnose and provide appropriate treatments, such as allergy medications and steroid injections, to relieve symptoms. A clinician can also help recommend a variety of over-the-counter antihistamines that can significantly reduce your Cedar Fever symptoms.
To protect yourself and your family against cedar pollen and to minimize the effects of Cedar Fever, consider taking the following recommended steps:
- Close all windows and doors
- Turn the air conditioner or heater on when pollen levels are high
- Use a cheesecloth to cover air conditioning vents for filtration of the pollen
- Change out the filters in your system regularly – HEPA air filters are recommended
- Dust with a moist cloth
- Clean your home with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner each week
- Bathe pets frequently
- Close car windows
- Keep the air conditioner or heater on, in recirculation mode
- For extreme cases, cover your nose and mouth with a painter’s mask
- If outdoors for a long period of time, be sure to shower and change clothes upon arriving home
To minimize the effects of Cedar Fever, it is also important to pay attention to daily pollen counts. The highest pollen counts – between 9.7 and 12.0 – occur on warm, windy days and the lowest levels – between 0 and 2.4 – occur on cool, rainy days. You can visit www.RediClinic.com/cedarfever to check the Pollen Tracker for the daily allergy alert.
Central Texas’ climate may produce harsh symptoms, but fortunately, RediClinic offers some of the best allergy treatments available. Don’t catch the fever! Take advantage of prevention and treatment resources available at your local RediClinic so you won’t have to suffer this year’s Cedar Fever outbreak.
This article was written by Carol Andrus. Carol is certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners as a Family Nurse Practitioner at RediClinic. She holds a Master’s of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner MSN/FNP degree from the University of Texas in Austin.