It is that miserable time of year again for mountain cedar allergic patients. Mountain cedar allergy causes congestion, itching of nose, eyes, ears and throat, sneezing and copious clear nasal discharge. This complex often goes by the term “Cedar Fever”,  but does allergy cause fever? The answer to this is no. What happens is that when people are suffering from allergies the mucosal membranes in their nose are disrupted and unable to provide the protection they normally do. This is very similar to what happens with a burn injury. The burned skin does not provide the same barrier normal skin does and so infections at the burn site are a frequent complication. Consequently, allergy patients are at greater risk to get viral or bacterial infections like sinusitis. Once this happens they certainly may get a fever. So it becomes apparent how cedar allergy became linked with fever. What you should remember is, if you are running a fever (temperature > 100.0) then you have developed an infection on top of your allergies and you may need to see your doctor about this.

Another story often associated with cedar allergy is if you eat the berries of the cedar tree it can prevent cedar allergy. This sounds like it might be a true statement, but once again, this is fiction. Remember it is the pollen from the male trees not the fruit (berries) of the female tree that causes the problem. Not only is there no evidence that this works, there is no evidence that the berries even contain the allergen seen in the pollen.

There are only three therapies that have been shown to be effective in mountain cedar allergies. The first is avoidance. This is completely effective and without side effects. So if you have the wherewithal to leave Texas from December to February, do it. Unfortunately, this is not practical for most of us. The second is to use medicines like nasal steroids and antihistamines and decongestants. The third is to do allergy shots. These are made from the mountain cedar pollen itself. Unfortunately, they often take weeks or months to work, so it is too late this season for allergy shots to work. However, if you are suffering now and medicines are not helping enough, now is the time to see your allergy doctor so that we can try and prevent next years suffering.