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Mountain Cedar – Don’t Worry, You Got This!

Fellow Texans, Mountain Cedar season is approaching us again. The 1st pollen wave will drift in late November and peak in December – February.

Mountain Cedar’s long pollination season, small diameter (infiltrates upper/lower airways easily), buoyancy and hardiness (thrives in dry unfertile soil) are some of the reasons why it is considered the most potent aeroallergen. Its name is a misnomer since it is a juniper and not cedar and there are technically no mountains in Texas. Mountain Cedar bark is used exclusively by the golden-cheeked warbler for its nests. The golden cheek warbler is a beautiful Texas Hill country songbird and an endangered species. Mountain cedar can cause severe upper/lower airway tract symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, postnasal drainage, watery/itchy eyes, goopy eyes, breathing difficulty, sinus congestion, and sinus pressure/pain. It can rev up the immune system to produce viral-like symptoms, including fatigue, body aches, and low-grade fevers (Cedar Fever).

Self Help Tips include:

  • Wear protective wear such as face masks, eyewear, gaiter, and sleeves/pants.
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brim hat to reduce pollen exposure.
  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Bath after coming from extended periods outdoors.
  • Wipe pets with a damp cloth after returning from outdoors.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Wash your bed linens and pillowcases in hot water at least weekly.
  • Use HEPA Air Purifiers in the house (small size 200 sq ft, medium size 200-400 sq ft, large size 400-1500 sq ft).
  • Change out AC filters monthly.
  • Change out vehicle air cabin filters every two months.
  • Take over-the-counter intranasal steroids such as Flonase or Nasacort daily starting in OCT until spring arrives.
  • Once Cedar season sets in, add a daily second-generation antihistamine such as Xyzal, Zyrtec, or Allegra.
  • Irrigate your sinuses every 1-3 days with a NeilMed sinus rinse kit or neti pot.
  • For ocular symptoms, try otc ophthalmic antihistamines such as Pataday or Zaditor.
  • For sinus pressure and congestion, an otc decongestant but for no longer than (3-4) days.

For potentially curative therapies, Aeroallergen Immunotherapy (AIT) is available in the forms of allergy injections/shots, sublingual tablets and/or sublingual drops. AIT can make your immune system tolerant of mountain cedar and make this winter downer an afterthought.


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