Cedar Fever

An allergic reaction occurs when one comes into contact with an allergen, i.e., a substance that the immune system considers to be foreign. The release of histamines is the natural response of a body’s immune system under such circumstances. Some of the common allergens that are known to trigger an allergic reaction include pollen, dust mites, mold, insect venom, latex rubber, and pet dander. Out of these, pollen emerges as one of the most common cause of seasonal allergies. Pollens are fine spores that the plants produce for the purpose of fertilization. These are either transferred by the wind or insects, in order to facilitate the process of cross-pollination. One might get exposed, when pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers is being transferred. This is when one experiences an allergic reaction. Oak, elm, hickory, pecan, ash, box elder, and mountain cedar are some of the trees that are known to produce allergenic pollen. Cedar fever is a tree pollen allergy that is caused by the pollen of the mountain cedar tree.

Symptoms

Juniperus ashei, which is commonly referred to as mountain cedar tree, is one of the most allergenic trees in Central Texas. The allergic reaction is mainly attributed to the chemical composition of the pollen. This single and stable glycoprotein, with its low protein and high carbohydrate content is known to cause severe allergic rhinitis. Moreover, the pollen count of this tree is very high. If the branches of the tree get disturbed during the season of pollination, large amounts of pollen are released. Since it grows in areas such as Texas and Oklahoma, people inhabiting these places need to be very careful during winter, the time during which this tree releases pollen.

Those who are sensitive to pollen might experience distressing symptoms if they breathe in pollen, or if it enters their nose or eyes. Their eyes may turn red, itchy or watery. The affected individual may also feel a burning sensation in the eyes along with a runny nose. Chest congestion, scratchy throat, continuous sneezing and coughing can leave the affected individual feeling tired and uncomfortable. Even though this pollen allergy is referred to as cedar fever, a person suffering from this allergy may, or may not, have a fever.

Treatment

If you are living in an area where these trees are predominant, you must take precautions in order to prevent an allergy. Make sure that you keep the doors and windows closed during the pollinating season. You must always take a shower after spending time outdoors. Installing good quality HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtering equipment will also prove beneficial. Since pollen production is the highest during the early hours and the pollen count is the highest during warm, dry and windy days, it’s advisable to stay indoors during this time. If you have had an allergic reaction before, it would be better to consult a doctor before the pollinating season starts. Since the symptoms appear due to the release of histamines, the best way to get relief from this pollen allergy is to take antihistamines prescribed by your doctor.

Besides the use of antihistamines, doctors adopt a symptomatic approach for treating this condition. One might be asked to put eye drops for treating redness, itching, and watering of the eyes. Nasal decongestants or sprays might also help. Alternative healing therapies, such as, acupuncture or yogic nasal irrigation techniques also emerge as effective treatment options. Other ways to get relief from seasonal allergies is to strengthen the immune system by including immune boosting foods or nutritional supplements. In some cases, wherein drug therapy or alternative treatment options don’t seem to work, doctors might recommend immunotherapy. This is suitable for those who have a hyper-sensitive immune system. This involves injecting small and incremental doses of the allergen, so as to desensitize the patient to the allergen.

If you live in a region where mountain cedar trees are growing in large numbers, make sure that you take all possible steps to prevent this allergy. When it comes to allergies, the best you can do is to avoid the allergen. After all, prevention is better than cure!




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