Many associate environmental allergies with springtime, but for those living in Texas, winter has its own share of allergens. Every year from December until February, gusty northwest winds spread cedar pollen throughout the state.
Typically, the highest pollen counts are seen in late December and early January. It is difficult for an allergist to predict how severe an upcoming season will be, as there are a number of factors, such as temperature and rainfall to consider.
Symptoms of Cedar Pollen Allergy
Symptoms of an allergy to cedar pollen, or as the locals call it, “cedar fever,” include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes, mouth or ears
Protect Yourself from Pollen
Eliminating your exposure to cedar pollen is the only way to prevent allergy symptoms. Texas allergists recommend:
- Keeping your doors and windows closed
- Using high-quality air filters in your home
- Washing your hands and face when you come indoors
- Being mindful of pets that may bring allergens in from the outdoors
Think You May Have Cedar Fever?
Allergy testing is the only way to know for certain what is causing your symptoms, as determining the cause is key to proper treatment. There are three types of allergy tests commonly used to diagnose a cedar allergy.
Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test is the most common type of allergy test and the first test ordered. A series of allergen extracts are placed on the skin and a small needle is pricked through each drop, scratching the top layer of skin. If you are allergic, a red and itchy dime-sized hive will appear.
Intradermal Skin Test
An intradermal test is ordered for negative skin prick results. Your doctor will inject a small amount of the allergen extract under the top layer of your skin. As with the skin prick test, a red itchy bump will appear if you are allergic to the extract.
A blood test measures allergen-specific antibodies in your blood. This test is usually ordered when a patient cannot stop taking their antihistamine, a requirement for skin prick testing, or for patients who are severely allergic and for whom a skin test would be unsafe.
If you think you may be suffering from cedar fever, now is the time to seek treatment. Contact Texas ENT & Allergy to schedule an appointment.