In the southern United States symptoms (specifically in central and south Texas) sneezing and coughing will soon begin and many will not know not know if it's from allergies or a cold or the resurgence of COVID-19. (Dr. Bielory's reference in USA Today - How to Tell Coronavirus Symptoms from Allergies). In this region of the United States, one of the most common allergens in this region is mountain cedar. And According to Dr. Eric Kavosh, a practicing allergist in Plano, Texas, stated that "It usually starts early October, but this year it was about 2 weeks late, but it hits like a ton of bricks".
The difference is that allergists can test for allergic sensitivity to a variety of pollens especially mountain tree cedar.
Allergists offer specific skin testing for mountain cedar allergy individuals to stop taking all antihistamines seven days prior. “The skin test is quickly placed on the skin in about 10 seconds and then 15 minutes later the reaction read. A positive test is when If the cedar allergy test shows a reaction like a mosquito bite."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Juniperus ashei, more commonly known as mountain cedar (Reference USDA), is found in excess of 9 million acres in Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri, but mainly concentrated in central and south Texas. Interestingly, It pollinates when the temperature is close to freezing, usually from November through January. Whereas in other regions of the country, allergic pollen are more commonly released when it weather warms and promotes germination. Cedar tree pollen is known to travel several miles leaving a blanket of yellow dust on everything in its path making people who suffer from this allergy feeling miserable.
The most common symptoms are itchy scratchy eyes, runny nose, congested nose, sneezing and sometimes respiratory symptoms such as cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath. These have been reported in a study reported by Dr. Bielory (source 1).The nasal symptoms can be easily controlled with Sinusol® Breathe Easy formulation.
“During the COVID 19 pandemic many are concern about the difference between allergies and a viral infection as many of the symptoms are similar," Dr. Bielory said. "While a virus can last for a few days to a week or two, mountain tree cedar symptoms can last several weeks to months depending on how long the season lasts."
Even though mountain cedar allergy is commonly referred to as "Cedar Fever," it is rarely associated with a fever or chills unless individuals develop secondary bacterial infections.
"Some patients start with nasal allergies but they can lead to a sinus infection," Bielory added. "A runny nose with mucus that is clear to light yellow is more likely to be allergy while deeper yellow or green in color tends to be consistent a viral illness or even sinus inflammation i.e. allergic sinusitis which is also treated with a nasal lavage such as Sinusol® Breathe Easy.