The scourge is upon us; it has arrived. Coughing. Sneezing. Wheezing. Runny nose. Itchy eyes. Red eyes. Sneezing. Swollen eyes. Crusty eyes. Post-nasal drip. Shortness of breath. Asthma. Sneezing. Fever. Plugged ears. Sneezing. Stuffy nose. Head ache. Fatigue. Sneezing. Irritation of the sinus passages inducing foggy mental capacities. Sneezing. Full on pre-meditated aggravated assault clouding the brain and the atmosphere. There is a murky auburn cloud gunking up the works. Yes, indeed. Cedar Fever Season has arrived. Aaaa-choo!
Winter no more…
Long ago, I used to call this time of year “winter.” Blankets of new fallen snow, under a glistening moon, dance in my imagination. But those who are cursed with the cedar allergy will probably agree that Old-Man Winter has been overshadowed, down trodden and eclipsed by the fortitude of one scrappy little tree. The unseemingly ordinary juniperus ashei makes his mark and people everywhere curse his common name as they reach for the tissue box, “Darn you, Mountain Cedar!” The season called winter exists no more.
This year the amusement began early around Thanksgiving due to that early cold snap we had. It is predicted to last through February. A year ago January marked the second highest cedar pollen counts in history. Several folks even called 911 to report forest fires throughout the hill country. It was all one big false alarm. All that “smoke” was simply intense swirls of cedar pollen churning through the air finding its way into my eyes, ears, nose and throat making me feel as though a large truck had unceremoniously backed over me.
In my feverish state, I learned that supposedly the commonly used term “cedar fever” is a misnomer. Apparently allergy victims do not actually have an increased body temperature due to any infection. Clearly, WebMD articles are written by non-allergy suffering, non-residents of south Texas. To those clear-headed nose breathers, this foggy-minded, mouth breathing nose blower says bah humbug as she scratches her inflamed eyeballs.
The worst part of the Cedar Season is that children are not exempt from its clutches. At least I, as a grown up, can rationalize my infirmity with healthy doses of cynicism and sarcasm spread liberally to all who will listen. But school children everywhere are not afforded the luxury of cranky quips and laconic afternoon lapses in productivity. Of course not, STAAR tests are coming soon and they must be prepared! So what’s a poor allergy suffering kiddo to do?
A quick Google search reveals numerous suggested remedies to help reduce the effects of excessive pollen. In addition to all the over-the-counter solutions and prescription drugs, numerous clinicians suggest massage, acupuncture, herbal remedies, allergy shots, high doses of healthy green vegetables, antioxidants, nasal irrigation devices (i.e. a neti pot), spicy food, probiotics, local honey, Vick’s vaporub, Ricola herbal drops, healthy sleep patterns and more. Of course, everyone is unique and will respond differently to various treatments. Sadly, trial and error is a necessity for determining the best methods for finding comfort during the most difficult season of the year. But take comfort! No matter how muddle-headed the pollen has made you, like me, you’ll quickly learn that the green vegetables are meant to be eaten and the Vick’s rub is meant to be applied, not vice versa. Grown ups, please be patient with your sneezing children; work together to find helpful solutions for your little ones suffering with cedar pollen allergy.
My biggest hope is that the halftime show of the Super Bowl this year will feature a giant dancing groundhog who will emerge on to the field without seeing his shadow. Then we will know for sure that the end of Cedar Season is upon us. I think Old-Man Winter would like that. A-choo and God Bless You! Now go hug your family.