AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
But if you live in the Austin area, the holiday season is also the time when you’re most likely to get sick.
Austin Public Health has warned about a potential flu crisis this winter following an uptick in cases locally, while there’s bad news for allergy sufferers — cedar fever is on its way.
Cedar season officially started Tuesday morning, according to KXAN meteorologist David Yeomans, meaning thousands of Austinites will have allergy symptoms sooner rather than later.
We all know that cedar fever can be brutal. But what makes it different to the flu, and how can you tell the two apart?
As miserable as cedar fever is, flu comes with some extra symptoms.
According to an Austin Public Health spokesperson, cedar fever symptoms include a runny or congested nose, itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing.
What makes the flu different are the additions of chills, a cough or sore throat, body aches, fatigue and in some cases a fever.
Allergy and Asthma Center of Georgetown, an expert partner of KXAN, discovered the first cedar pollen of the season on the allergy count Tuesday.
Typically, allergy sufferers are vulnerable to cedar fever between December and February. The highest mountain cedar counts tend to come in late December or early January.
Meanwhile, Austin Public Health has urged people to get the flu shot ahead of what they fear will be a “severe wave of flu illnesses.”
Unlike cedar fever, flu is highly contagious — so any flu sufferers should wash their hands often, not go to work or school, and cover up coughs and sneezes to prevent the virus from spreading.