Posts for category: Allergy
Michael Jackson really didn’t sing that one. But we do sing the Central Texas blues around the end of every year due to the clouds of “cedar” pollen billowing up from those trees. Ash Juniper, Cedar’s real name, is not a native Texas species. It was imported to provide wind breaks for the prairie houses of early settlers. Unfortunately for those of us who are allergic, those trees took off and now dominate the landscape in some places. Dense clouds of yellow Cedar pollen and millions of dollars of health care dollars are the result.
Treatment is usually an over-the-counter affair. Antihistamines, particularly the non-sedating ones like loratidine (Claritin®), cetirizine (Zyrtec®), and fexofenadine (Allegra®), are very effective. Anti-itch eye drops (ketotifin) are also available to can keep that symptom at bay. Don’t forget nasal saline irrigation. A Neti-Pot or sinus rinse system can go a long way in controlling your nasal symptoms. However, there are times when these meds are not enough and a trip to your doctor is in order.
At Great Hills ENT, we frequently see people in the throes of cedar agony. Treatments are available to stop the symptoms and the complications of severe allergy. Nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines, combo nasal sprays, prescription eye drops, and steroids are usually successful additions to your over-the-counter. We also partner with many allergists in town if testing and desensitization is on your agenda.
Make an appointment see us if Cedar is making your life miserable. We can help!
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.
Cooler weather and changing of the season brings several things to mind-family gatherings, holiday feasts, and, if you are like the other millions of allergy sufferers…mountain cedar sniffles!
Cedar season begins as early as November, but typically peaks in January. Interestingly, the pollen that causes “cedar fever” is not actually cedar at all-it is from the Ashe Juniper tree, a small drought-tolerant evergreen shrub native to central Texas. The pollen of this wind-pollinated plant triggers an allergic reaction that then leads to sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, swelling of the nasal passages and increased mucus.
Why do some people have allergies? It is thought to be a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. What can you do about it? Well, when the pollen count is high, avoid going outside, use an air purifier, shower before bed, and take an antihistamine (such as claritin, zyrtec, or allegra). Taking one with a decongestant may help even more.
Other medications that are currently only available by prescription may help-these include nasal steroid sprays (which decrease inflammation in the nose), nasal antihistamines, and even steroid shots. When these medications fail to improve symptoms, allergy evaluation and allergy shots (immunotherapy) are indicated.
To stay up to date on local pollen counts please click here.
Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.