AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN’s partners over at Allergy & Asthma Center of Georgetown have recorded our area’s first high count of cedar pollen. A count of 230 grains per cubic meter of air was recorded Wednesday morning.
This is ranked in the “high” category and is marked as our first cedar “spike” of the season. It has been recorded as low since it was first found this season on December 2.
Cedar allergy season typically begins in December and extends through February, with the highest mountain cedar counts often coming in late December or early January. So the worst, unfortunately, has yet to come.
Allergy & Asthma Center of Georgetown says that it is difficult to predict the severity of cedar allergies from year-to-year, as there are many factors that can play a role. These include rainfall in the past year, rainfall during the past season, and temperature fluctuation.
What is ‘Cedar Fever’?
Those suffering from what is often called “cedar fever” may experience runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes/ears/mouth and general lethargy. Steps you can take proactively to weather allergy season include:
- Keeping 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
The gusty winds over the past 24 hours are more than likely to blame for the spike in the count. With that said, the winds have been consistently out of the south. This typically is not a weather pattern prone to spiking cedar.
The vast majority of Ashe Juniper or Mountain Cedar trees are located out in the Hill Country. That means when there are an abundance of buds of pollen from the trees, it would take a strong wind out of the NORTHWEST to spike a pollen count here in the Austin-metro. So, given the spike despite an unfavorable wind direction, it’s likely we’ll see an even bigger increase in cedar count when the wind does turn favorable (out of the northwest).
The good news is this type of cold front is not in the seven-day forecast. This weekend’s cold front will bring a lot of rain with it and will wash out a lot of the pollen out of the air which will be great news for allergy sufferers.