Did you know that the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) has a Pollen and Mold Report counter that will tell you the amount of allergens in the air on that particular day for your general area? It’s broken down into 4 categories: Trees, Weeds, Grass, and Mold. Out of curiosity I checked out the Waco (Station 1), TX area which shows a High-Concentration of Tree allergens. Now those of you non-Texans out there may be wondering what would be causing Tree allergens in the dead of winter. Most Texans on the other hand can tell you exactly which tree is to blame for this, and usually in some pretty colorful language (if my family is any indicator). The Cedar Tree.
A member of the cypress-juniper (Cupressaceae) family, the cedar tree grows naturally mainly in Central Texas, as well as smaller favorable areas of Texas, New Mexico, northern Mexico, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. This pesky tree pollinates from November through March-ish, January usually being smack dab in the middle of the heaviest pollination. It is an evergreen tree with grey-brown shredding bark, and has male and female plants. The males would (of course) be the pollen producing problem plant and have several reddish-brown cones 3-4 mm in diameter, while the females produce small blue-green berries. According to the People Against Cedars website (where most of this information is coming from), the Cedar tree is a plague with “no redeeming value: it is poor firewood, it is poor landscape plant, it is a poor source of food for native animals and it is poor wood for construction.” It also takes over valuable farm and ranch land quickly, and to top it all off this tree also soaks up more than its fair share of water – which is quite the commodity in Texas.
Symptoms of what is sometimes called “Cedar Fever” doesn’t include an actual fever, but plenty of itchy, runny nose, sneezing, nasal blockage, excess tearing and itchy eyes, fatigue, headaches, facial discomfort, sore throat, and ear plugging. With this pollen being so excessive in these areas you can’t avoid it completely but here (and here, hint: scroll towards the bottom) are a few steps to reduce its effects. Consult your doctor if you believe this sounds like something you’re suffering from.
I’m of a mind that these trees would serve us much better as pretty Fireplace mantles or chest/closet/trunk liners, but until everybody jumps on the Anti-Cedar Tree Bandwagon this is just one more allergen for people to contend with. Check back with us in the next few weeks for more allergy & asthma tips, advice, and general information. Until then you can always check out our website for more great information and products!
Sources: (Only one on this blog, which may seem odd but there is a ton of great info throughout this site)
People Against Cedars; http://www.peopleagainstcedars.com