Cedar allergy remedies that work
December 11, 2018
Oh, those itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, congestion, headaches.
December in South and Central Texas marks the beginning of cedar season and cedar fever. Stretching through March, mountain cedar or juniper trees pollinate, sending plumes of pollen granules hundreds of miles across the Lone Star State.
“Cedar creates havoc for allergy sufferers,” said Dr. David Gude. “But there are several lines of defense that can make the season better and bearable.”
Gude recommends starting nasal steroids now. “If you know you are allergic to cedar, it’s best to start them around Thanksgiving to give your body time to acclimate and create the block needed to stop the allergic reaction.”
Over-the-counter nasal steroids include Flonase, Nasacort Allergy 24HR, and Rhinocort. Prescription nasal steroids are also available.
How does a nasal steroid work?
For an allergic person, there are cells in the body which contain a “lock”. Pollens unlock the cell and release chemicals, among them histamines. The histamines attach to receptor sites and cause the sneezing, itching and congestion.
Nasal steroids change the configuration of the “lock” on the first cell and thus prevent the cell from opening and discharging the histamine content.
Are there other cedar remedies and protection?
Allergy relief can also come from decongestants and antihistamines, but Gude cautions that they offer short term relief.
Gude also recommends nasal flushing with saline rinse and a Neti pot once a day.
If you are a cedar allergy sufferer, the best way to protect yourself is to reduce exposure to cedar by limiting time outdoors during days with high pollen counts.
Below are tips to reduce cedar’s infiltration in your home.
- Keep your doors and windows closed. Run the air conditioner when the pollen is extremely high.
- Change your air conditioning filter often. You may want to use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to help filtrate the pollen even more.
- Dust your home with a damp cloth, and vacuum carpets with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter each week.
- Take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors for a long period of time. This will protect you from pollen that lands on your clothes and in your hair.
- Bathe pets often, even if they live indoors.
- Eliminate cedar trees in your yard by replacing them with good hardwoods like elm, ash, or oak.
Regardless of your allergy regimen, cedar is a seasonal allergy and sooner than later the irritants that plague you will be gone for a while and mother nature will provide a bit of relief.