By now, you are probably anxious for mountain cedar to make its grand exit. Be gone. Disappear. Sayonara cedar.
Well fellow cedar allergy sufferers, hang tight.
The pollen from the juniper tree, commonly called mountain cedar, and the one that causes noses to run, eyes to burn, muscles to ache, and bodies to act sluggishly, isn’t going anywhere. Yet.
This year, mountain cedar pollen revealed itself about two weeks later than it typically has in years past. As a result, I expect the cedar to remain airborne longer than it typically does, making San Antonio’s cedar season feel longer than usual. That’s right. Longer.
We had a great discussion on mountain cedar and how this is the first shift Allergists in San Antonio have seen, in the mountain cedar season, in over 30 years.
A colleague of mine who measures the cedar pollen in the San Antonio area, Dr. Paul Ratner, and I talked about the cedar season shift recently. Dr. Ratner says El Nino has a lot to do with it. El Nino typically delivers more rain and different temperatures. That’s had little effect on the the severity of this year’s mountain cedar. In fact, I’d say this year’s mountain cedar pollen numbers fall within average of years past. However, 2015 rain and temperature changes throughout the country, including South Texas, more than likely caused the delay in the pollen producing schedule of juniper (mountain cedar).
What does the shift in the cedar season mean for you? My concern for many allergy sufferers is this: Patients with mountain cedar and oak allergy may not get the two week or so respite they are normally accustomed to having. Oak season in the San Antonio area usually begins in late February or early March.
With even this small shift in the mountain cedar season, it is important to know your allergens. I always tell my patients the first step to treating an allergy is testing with a board certified allergist. Too often I see patients guess or assume they are allergic to one tree, weed, or grass without certainty. As a result, they waste time, money, and effort treating a misdiagnosed allergy with little relief. I see such satisfaction with my patients when they finally confirm an allergy and we treat it with what we know works. At Advanced Allergy, allergy testing is quick and painless. Allergy testing is covered by most insurance companies, and, if it is not, testing for a panel of allergens will typically cost you less than thirty dollars. Once you know your seasonal allergy triggers, you can follow a pollen report, like the one here.
If you’ve read my previous blogs on mountain cedar, you’ll know what I’m about to say : The best defense against mountain cedar is to go on the offensive – and do it early. They key to managing mountain cedar is preparing your body before the start of mountain cedar by building up on allergy shots, allergy drops, prescription medication or the concoction of medicine we determine is best for your specific symptoms. While there are many common symptoms caused by mountain cedar, our bodies all react differently. While I might get puffy eyes and nasal discharge, your body may react with lethargy and congestion.
The bottom line is that mountain cedar season is one of three predominant allergy “seasons” we see here in South Texas. Its course can run four months long – that’s a lengthy chunk of our life to feel miserable. With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, you can condition your body to fight mountain cedar. You deserve to live life to its fullest – feeling good and being productive, every day!
~ Dr. Dinger