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Cedar season came early and its sticking around

Cedar pollen is wreaking havoc on many Central Texans this week. According to allergists, cedar fever hit the Austin-area at least 2 weeks early this year. (Photo: CBS Austin)

Cedar pollen is wreaking havoc on many Central Texans this week. According to allergists, cedar fever hit the Austin-area at least 2 weeks early this year.

Allergist at Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin, Dr. Bill Howland said cedar levels typically don't peak until around New Year's Eve. However, the heavy rain this fall, followed by high wind was a recipe for disaster.

"Last Thursday when we had that 50-mph wind, the pollen counts went from almost 0 to 8,000 (pollen per cubic meter) in one day," said. Dr. Howland.

According to Dr. Howland, the cedar pollen counts in Central Texas are some of the highest of any pollen recorded in the world.

He believes the outlook for the beginning of 2019, doesn't look much better for allergy sufferers.

"I anticipate over the next 3-4 weeks, if we have dry weather, we are going to get these big spikes," said Dr. Howland.

If you suffer from cedar allergies, Dr. Howland recommends staying indoors on windy, dry days and keeping doors and windows closed.

Medically, the best defense is over-the-counter nasal cortisone spray or an antihistamine. Eye drops may also help.

"You need to get on it now and stay on it at least until February 15th," said Dr. Howland.

While the rain might have been a factor leading to the early and record-breaking cedar season, it's now what sufferers should wish for. Rain keeps the pollen from being suspended in the air, which makes it harder for it to find its way to your eyes and nose.

Dr. Howland also recommends allergy shots months ahead of cedar season. It is too late in the year for the shots to help with cedar allergies.

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