While many across the country welcome December and the holidays as relief from their worst fall allergy symptoms, many Texans are dreading the upcoming allergic onslaught of what’s locally known as “Cedar Fever”. If you’re not familiar with the horrible mating season of the mountain cedar (which is actually a juniper plant, but we digress), we’ll just say we’d take the worst ragweed season any day over a cedary December in Central Texas.
Pollen leaves the city in an orange haze, and while it’s largely unavoidable outside, there are some things you can do to keep it from entering your home.
Take those shoes off at the door.
When we walk around we pick up whatever is in the world, and when you walk around your house, you’re bringing all of that into your home - the place we go to get away from all of that! Having a designated shoe area, away from the main living areas if possible, is the best way to keep from tracking all of that cedar pollen all over the house, not to mention whatever else you may have picked up over the course of the day.
Switch up your shower routine.
If you’re a morning shower kind of person, it may be time to reconsider. Aside from hanging out on your shoes, pollen can catch on your clothes, skin, and even in your hair! Try switching your shower to whenever you get home from work or school. That will make sure all the pollen is washed off, and keep you from tracking it into your everyday clothes, or worse, into your bed!
Fight fire with food.
Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” and when it comes to cedar fever, we’ll take all the help we can get. Choose foods that are high in vitamin C, with all it’s allergy-blocking powers, and are anti-inflammatory to help give your poor sinuses a break. Broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and cauliflower are classic winter veggies that do just that, while flavor staples onion and garlic are high in quercetin which also act as an antihistamine. Get a more comprehensive list of allergy-fighting foods from Organic Life.
Make time to relax.
As if you really needed another reminder to relax, stress can make already-bad allergy symptoms even worse. When you’re stressed out, your body produces hormones that keep you going in a legitimately stressful situation - one that requires a fight or flight response - but those are the same hormones that block your immune system, aka your body’s first defense against allergens. Making some time to rest and relax will do two things- make your itchy eyes and cold symptoms a little easier to bear, and clear out some of that unnecessary stress so your body can get back to fighting allergens.
Be aware of places allergens like to hide out.
There are some places that allergies like to hide out that we may not think of. Make sure to take your allergy meds before you go out to a football game or the farmer’s market, since mold spores can hide out in turf, and pollen often gets transported along with all your favorite local veggies.
Take control with long-term, year-round solutions.
Quick fixes won't really solve anything, and masking your allergy symptoms with meds may get you through the day, but it doesn’t stop the fact that allergens are still entering your home. One of the best changes you can make to benefit your health year-round is to control your indoor air quality through the use of HEPA filters. HEPA, short for “high-efficiency particulate air” filters work by using a fine mesh filtration system to trap pollen and other allergens that may get through traditional fabric filters.
Having clean indoor air is especially important when you’re subject to inclement weather or high pollen counts that prevent you from opening up doors and windows.
It’s also important to note that while HEPA filters do an excellent job of removing airborne allergens, pollen and similar things like to hide out in rugs, sheets, and other places around your home, so without taking heed of the previous recommendations in this post, you’ll be missing out some big benefits of incorporating.
You can keep up with the latest on cedar and other pollen in Central Texas using KXAN’s allergy report tool; for more information on HEPA filters, or help installing one in your own home, call Covenant today!