For many San Antonians with allergies, the dreaded "cedar fever" season has arrived.
With each gusty cold front, more and more Hill County cedar pollen is blown into San Antonio.
Under a microscope, a cedar pollen looks like a blade from a circular saw, and it's jagged edges make it easy for it to stick to the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, a local allergist said.
With October and September the wettest back-to-back months in Texas history, there are a lot of big and green cedar trees loaded with pollen to the north of us, according to Dr. David Hrncir, an allergist-immunologist with the San Antonio Asthma and Allergy Clinic.
But he said predicting the severity of this year's cedar fever season is tricky.
"Sometimes they just put out a whole lot of pollen because they grew a lot and that may be what we should anticipate this year cause they got a lot of moisture and they are going to put out a lot of pollen,” he said. “But sometimes, when it’s really dry, they actually put out more potent pollen, so it's a little bit hard to predict, but it is guaranteed it is coming."
Hrncir said it’s time to see a doctor if cedar fever symptoms, such as sneezing and coughing frequently lead to other illnesses such as sinus infections and pneumonia.
He also said the time to see your doctor is before you simply can't take it anymore.
"If it's impacting the quality of life and taking an antihistamine or over the counter, nasal steroid doesn't fix it, then your doctor needs to probably do something else,” he said.
Hrncir said the worst cases can be alleviated by steroids.
The doctor said the worst of the cedar fever season should be over by mid-January, but you'll have to wait until mid-February for the last of the pesky pollen to clear the air.
Brian Kirkpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org