The Season of Cedar Fever is upon Us, But What is That, Exactly?

Cedar trees in Texas. | Image from Longhorn Realty

As winter weather descends on Texas, the state has entered the season of Cedar fever.

For those unaware, Cedar fever is an allergic reaction to the pollen that comes from mountain cedar trees. It is not considered to be a flu or virus.

The majority of cedar comes from the Ashe Juniper tree, but it can also come from eastern red cedar. When the trees pollinate, the wind carries the pollen, causing it to affect some individuals who are not even close to highly concentrated areas.

Some regions are more heavily affected than others. According to Jonathan Motsinger, Texas A&M Forest Service Central Texas Operations department head, “Cedar fever is the worst west of I-35, where you have primarily juniper mixed in with oaks and some other species. And because all of those junipers are producing pollen at the same time, you’re going to get a higher concentration of pollen in the air.”

Symptoms for cedar fever are often mistaken for the flu, and now, with coronavirus cases increasing, people can also confuse the two. Some of the symptoms one may experience are sore throat, fatigue, running nose, or even a fever. There are also the typical allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, and congested nasal passages.

Karl Flocke, a woodland ecologist for Texas A&M Forest Service, said the number one symptom that sets cedar fever from other infections is, “Typically, mucus from allergies is clear and runny, while other infections lead to thicker colored mucus.”

You can prepare for cedar fever by keeping yourself informed via your local news stations, staying indoors during the days that pollen is at its highest, and utilizing allergy medications to manage your symptoms.

There is often a spread of cedar when a cold front approaches due to changes in temperatures and air pressure. Beware that pollen production is at its highest in mid-January. Texas could see more people suffering from Cedar fever until the pollen concentration decreases at the start of March.

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