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Cedar fever in the Brazos Valley: What it is and how it affects you

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 00:23:06-05

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Around the winter months, some of us start to sniffle and sneeze and have itchy eyes. We may think it’s a common cold due to spring allergies, but you could be experiencing symptoms of cedar fever.

Michael Merritt — program leader, Urban and Community Forestry for the Texas A&M Forest Service — said cedar trees are in the same family as juniper trees, and the male tree produces the pollen that some of us may be allergic to.

“Pollen is wind driven so you don’t actually have to have a cedar tree right next to you to have problems with it,” Merritt said.

Some of those problems include symptoms like a cold or the flu.

“You might think of a cold or flu,” Merritt said. “They cause itchy eyes, runny noses, nasal blockage, headaches, sore throats, when it gets really really heavy.”

Merritt said if we have a wet January, this can help reduce the pollen count.

“A good year from a rainfall standpoint, it will tend to wash the pollen out of the air and off the leaves and onto the ground,” Merritt said. “If we have more of a dry January, then there’s more of the pollen still in the air.”

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms with pollen, Merritt recommends limiting your outside activity in the early to late mornings when pollen counts are the highest.

Tuesday’s pollen count is relatively low due to rainfall on Monday. Pollen count is expected to increase throughout the week into the weekend with medium to high levels.