Second Allergy Test Reveals What I Always Suspected About Mountain Cedar
I vowed, last year, that I would not suffer another mountain cedar season in San Antonio.
And now, I am finally making good on that promise.
Let me begin by sharing a little about my history with allergies. Having grown up on the East Coast, I lived in an area where not a lot was ever said about seasonal allergies. Pollen existed of course, but I dont remember it being followed and reported on. Perhaps it was the time period where we knew a lot less about seasonal allergies compared to today. Or, maybe it was the deep winter freezes our city saw each year that dulled any allergy significance, at least, for me.
Fast forward, however, to 2006 and a family move to San Antonio, Texas. Here, mountain cedar was used like a bad four-letter word. Pollen counts were daily and nearly everyone I knew saw an Allergist. Soon, I understood why. After nearly three years living in the Alamo City, not far from the hill country, I noticed seasonal allergy symptoms I had never experienced before.
Like so many Texans do, I scheduled a visit with my first-ever Allergist who had me undergo skin testing. I had the whole panel done. Back pricks galore. My results? Negative. Each and every allergen. Not one was positive! I can still remember walking out of the Allergists office dumbfounded.
I mean, I was suffering.
There were symptoms.
But my skin test proved otherwise.
So, in, out, and around my hectic schedule, I finally scheduled an appointment with Dr. Dinger.
Annual Mountain Cedar Allergy Season About To Hit
DALLAS Dec. 18, 2017 Allergy specialists like Dr. Shelly Harvey are again readying themselves for mountain cedar, the annual irritant that makes noses run and eyes itch potentially transforming the merriest of holiday well-wishers into miserable Ebenezer Scrooges.
It is always bad in North Texas, and each year seems to be the worst weve ever had, according to my patients, said Dr. Harvey, who practices at the new Monty and Tex Moncrief Medical Center at Fort Worth. The warm weather weve had in 2017 has delayed mountain cedar season, but all it takes is a real freeze to initiate the release of pollen.
Once the season starts, its often a startling sight. Non-Texans have been known to mistake the ashy yellow film coating everything as the result of smog or pollution. Actually, its pollen from Ashe juniper, post cedar, mountain cedar, or blueberry juniper, a drought-tolerant evergreen tree native to the Southwestern U.S. and Northeastern Mexico.
Many people with seasonal allergies are allergic to mountain cedar, which is our dominant winter pollen, says Dr. Harvey, an Internal Medicine faculty associate in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Dallas-based UT Southwestern Medical Center. In patients allergic to mountain cedar, it can definitely worsen asthma symptoms and if untreated makes the winter miserable. Uncontrolled allergies can also lead to sinus infections.
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
Isolation Of Juniperus Ashei Rna And Cdna Synthesis
pollen was purchased from Hollister-Stier . Total RNA was isolated from 50 mg pollen using Promegas RNAgents Total RNA Isolation System. Reverse transcription of 2 g mRNA was achieved using an oligo-dT primer and an M-MLV reverse transcriptase. Second-strand synthesis was accomplished via PCR using primers specific for the Jun a 3 sequence. The following primers were designed for TMV-plasmid cloning: 5-GCGGTTAATTAAATGGCCCGAGTATCAGAGCTTGCG-3 and 5-GGCGCTCGAGTTAGGGACAGAATACAATACT-3 . Primers designed for yeast-plasmid cloning are as follows: 5-GCGGCTCGAGAAAAGAGAGGCTGCCCGAGTATCAGAGCTTGC-3 and 5-GCGGGCGGCCGCTCAAGGGCAGAATACAATACTGT-3 .
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Worst Plants For Allergy Sufferers
Stuffy and runny nose, sore throat, headachethese can be the symptoms of a nasty cold. But they can also be a sign that one is struggling with allergies. Often, these allergies are triggered by plants in our environment, from flowers to shrubs , trees and grasses .
It can be helpful to become familiar with these plants and develop a strategy for alleviating your symptoms. So, lets get started with a list of the top ten plants known to cause allergy problems
Symptoms Of Cedar Fever
While this creates for some fascinating imagery, it can also lead to some serious misery. For people new to the Central Texas region or unfamiliar with cedar fever as a whole, it can also lead to confusion since the pollination period of mountain cedar trees is smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season or a pandemic.
Its not uncommon for people experiencing cedar fever to mistake their symptoms as a cold or the seasonal flu, especially given the variety of symptoms triggered by cedar fever. These include fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, partial loss of smell and believe it or not some people actually do run a slight fever. However, if your fever is higher than 101.5°F, then pollen likely isnt the cause.
There are a few symptoms of cedar fever that are not linked to coronavirus or the flu though, like itchy, watery eyes, blocked nasal passages and sneezing. But there is one symptom that, according to Flocke, is a clearer indicator.
Typically, mucous from allergies is clear and runny, while other infections lead to thicker colored mucous, Flocke said.
Dust And Vacuum More Frequently
Pollen will come into your house from clothes, shoes, bags, pets, and even just opening the door, so if you can stay on top of the cleaning this can make a huge difference. Experts recommend vacuuming twice a week during peak pollen season. I can barely manage a full vacuuming once a week but Im trying to make more of an effort this year because it really makes a difference.
How To Tell The Difference Between Texas Cedar Fever And Covid Symptoms
“There’s definitely some overlap,” said Dr. Haley Overstreet of Aspire Allergy & Sinus. She has treated patients who thought it was just their allergies, including cedar fever last season, and it turned out to be COVID-19.
Both allergies and COVID-19 can have nasal congestion, runny nose, lack of smell and taste, and sore throat. Sneezing has been a challenge, Overstreet said, because initially everyone thought sneezing wouldn’t be part of COVID-19, but she has tested patients with severe sneezing and they have been positive for COVID-19.
What COVID-19 typically doesn’t have is itchiness. Itchy eyes, itchy throat and itchy nose are more likely to be allergies than a virus, but sometimes a scratchy throat can be a COVID-19 sign, especially in the omicron variant.
Some symptoms that typically are not allergies but could be a virus include nausea and diarrhea. High fever also is not allergies, Overstreet said.
If you’re not sure, take a COVID-19 test, especially right now because of the the number of cases of the omicron variant in the community.
Getting your allergies under control is important during times when a lot of virus is circulating in the community .
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How Long Does It Take To Get Cedar Fever
Some people will never get it. Some people might get it the first year they move to Central Texas. Most people, though, need to go through a few seasons before they become allergic to the juniper pollen. It takes some exposure to produce the reaction.
Allergists typically don’t see babies with cedar fever, but will see kids 18 months to 2 years with their first bad cedar fever season. It tends to be worse in kids that have eczema or asthma, Overstreet said.
“If you feel like it’s impacting your life in any way, whether it be work, leisure or productivity, then it’s worth getting treated,” Overstreet said. Treatments start with testing to make sure cedar is the allergen that’s bothering you.
Tips To Know When Saddling Up For A Showdown With Cedar Fever
If youre a Texan who is saddling up for a showdown with cedar pollen season, heres some helpful advice that can help you stay on your horse…unless, of course, youre allergic to horses, in which case, read our blog post on animal allergies!
The two main categories to explore when it comes to Cedar Fever are preventing symptoms before they start and reducing exposure to cedar pollen.
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Are You Struggling With Mountain Cedar Allergies
Mountain cedar is in full effect until late February, and for most people in South Texas, this can be the worst time of the year for allergies.
Mountain cedar has a protein that is really irritating to the human immune system. Its just a bad pollen in general, said David Gude, chief medical officer at Texas MedClinic. There are a lot of options in terms of things you can do for yourself at home .
Cedar Allergy Remedies that work:
- Allegra Allergy.
- Benadryl Allergy.
The best thing for medication is antihistamine, Gude said. I brought three examples Allegra Allergy, Zyrtex Allergy and Claritin 24-hour non-drowsy. These are all non-sedating. You can take all of these once a day. I dont recommend that you take decongestants on a regular basis if you have allergies.
When over-the-counter medication doesnt work anymore:Come and get a shot or get pills from us or from your allergist, said Gude.
Regardless of your allergy regimen, mountain cedar pollen is a seasonal allergy and sooner than later the irritants that plague you will be gone for a while and mother nature will provide a bit of relief.
Ent And Allergy Doctor In Georgetown Texas
When it comes to pollen allergies, being prepared is key to having a comfortable allergy season. If you are looking for an experienced allergy doctor in Central Texas, choose Georgetown ENT.
Our board-certified ear, nose, and throat doctor , Dr. Scott Franklin, is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat allergies, including those that trigger hay fever symptoms. For years, Dr. Franklin has helped our patients manage their seasonal allergies, including wintertime cedar allergies.
Our team of allergy specialists is here to help you find a personalized allergy treatment that works for you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Franklin, call our ENT clinic today at 869-0604 or fill out our convenient appointment request form online now. We look forward to serving you!
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How To Lessen Your Cedar Fever Symptoms
Start taking allergy medications, if you haven’t already. Choose either a nasal spray, such as Flonase, or an antihistamine, such as Claritin or Zyrtec. These can take about two weeks before they have the maximum effect. Once you start taking these medications, don’t stop until at least the end of January or after the daily pollen charts no longer list cedar or juniper.
Choose the medication that works for you. They can come with side effects such as being sedating or drying out the nose and mouth too much. Sometimes you might have to try a medication for a few weeks before you know if it is working, Overstreet said. Check with your doctor if you don’t know what to try or are concerned about side effects or interactions with other medications.
Plan around the pollen. Watch the allergy counts and plan outdoor activities for days when the pollen counts are lower. Dry windy days are worse than wet ones.
Rinse and repeat. Do a daily nasal rinse using distilled water in a neti pot or a squeeze bottle. This helps flush the pollen from the nose.
Dress the part. Wear long sleeves, long pants and hats to keep pollen off the skin and out of the eyes when working or playing outside. Then remove those clothes and hat when you come inside and put on fresh clothes.
Wear a mask outside. It’s great for keeping out viruses as well as pollen.
Take Cedar Drops To Build Up Immunity
Homeopathic allergy drops might seem mysterious, but its actually quite simple! Youve heard of exposing your kids to peanut butter as babies in small does to help build up immunity? Well homeopathic allergy drops work the same way. You build immunity by exposing your body in small doses to whatever youre allergic to. The body becomes safely conditioned to tolerate the allergens that previously brought on allergic reactions, and this ultimately reduces allergy symptoms.
Many of those who are usually homeopathy skeptics swear by these drops, so keep that in mind if homeopathy usually isnt your thing. Theres proof in the pudding that these make a true difference and without any side effects.
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Can Allergy Medications Increase Blood Pressure
Although allergies don’t usually directly increase blood pressure, they can indirectly contribute to high blood pressure. When you choose to use decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine , you can worsen the existing high blood pressure.
Although these medicines can ease nasal congestion and improve breathing, they can constrict blood vessels throughout the body, making the heart work harder to pump blood. This is what increases blood pressure.
When choosing an over-the-counter allergy medication, beware of combination products that contain decongestants. These products typically have the words sinus, cold, congestion, or decongestant on the label. They also might be labeled with the letters D, PD, or PE after the name.
If you choose to take an over-the-counter allergy product, look for one that doesn’t contain pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. Some Antihistamines can help with the congestion that accompanies allergies and is safer for the heart, such as cetirizine , fexofenadine diphenhydramine , and loratadine .
Are Nasal Sprays Harmful For People With Hypertension
Nasal sprays are actually an option that is less impactful to use on the rest of your body. Nasal sprays act directly on the nose’s blood vessels and have less impact anywhere else in the body.
If your allergy symptoms include nasal congestion, here are some options that are generally safe to use as decongestants:
- steroid nasal sprays , Nasacort, and Rhinocort )
- antihistamine nasal sprays and Patanase )
- saline nasal sprays or rinses, such as Ayr, Ocean, SimplySaline, or Neti Pot
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Production Of Recombinant Jun A 3 In N Benthamiana
Construction of the pBSG1057-Jun a 3 expression vector and inoculation of N. benthamiana plants with recombinant infectious RNA
A 30B-based tobacco mosaic virus vector, pBSG1057, and the Jun a 3 construct were digested with PacI and XhoI. Following ligation, the pBSG1057-Jun a 3 products were used to transform competent DH5E. coli cells via electroporation. Positive clones were sequenced using a CEQ capillary sequencer .
The pBSG1057-Jun a 3 vector was in vitro transcribed to generate capped infectious RNA using T7 RNA polymerase from the mMessage mMachine kit . An equal volume of FES buffer was added to each reaction, and two N. benthamiana leaves were mechanically inoculated per plant . Ten days post-inoculation, the virus was passaged to larger plants by grinding 1 g infected leaf material with 1 ml GP-Celite buffer and rubbing the inoculum onto two leaves per plant.
Detection of viral RNA and extraction of Jun a 3 protein
Treatment Options For Cedar Allergies
Treatments include antihistamines, corticosteroids, allergy shots, decongestants, and other over-the-counter and prescription medications.
The best way to find what treatment is right for you is to talk to your doctor and possibly see an allergist. If you are in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic can help you as well.
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Best Allergy Nasal Sprays To Treat Cedar Fever
Nasal steroid sprays are medicines that help you breathe through your nose by reducing inflammation. Spraying your nasal mucous membranes reduces inflammation in the nose which reduces congestion and sinus pressure. Two of the leading sprays to consider are:
- Mometasone – only available with a prescription
What Are The Symptoms Of Cedar Pollen Allergy
Cedar Pollen Allergy is a respiratory allergy affecting the whole body. It is also called Sinusitis. It is caused by an allergy to closely planted evergreen trees like cedars, pines, junipers, and sometimes spruces. Symptoms may include:
- a stuffy or runny nose
- partial loss of smell
In severe cases, people may experience difficulty breathing.
The symptoms have been associated with increased visits to doctors offices and emergency rooms in the spring, particularly after a rainstorm in cedar-rich areas of the Rocky Mountain region.
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Use Homeopathic Allergy Eye Drops And Nose Sprays
Homeopathic allergy eye drops and nose sprays are incredibly effective without any of the side effects of conventional allergy drops or sprays. And most if not all are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, so you dont have to worry about safety concerns for medical conditions.
Conventional eye drops such as Zatidor are contraindicated for pregnancy, and since using the homeopathic ones while pregnant, I havent bought conventional since. That was 5 years ago and I have three seasonal allergy seasons per year!
I also find that I can use a natural nose spray for extra allergy relief most of the time before needing to turn to a conventional antihistamine spray, so its definitely worth trying and much more affordable, too.
Managing Mountain Cedar: Early Treatment Is Key
Oh, mountain cedar, how we loathe you. Your distinctive bark peels and sheds like an unwelcome snake. Your flimsy evergreen branches populate our hills, backyards, and areas of limestone more so than almost any other tree. You are like a pest that wont go away. Your clouds of pollen, when released, cause noses to run in the masses. To those allergic, Mountain Cedar, you are a sneaky menace who arrives each November / December, like an unwanted guest difficult to manage.
This picture was captured outside of Austin, TX. Notice the cloud of pollen coming off the mountain cedar tree!
It is true, it takes roughly two years for someone to develop an allergy to mountain cedar. So, you may not notice it in your babies until after the age of two. That is also why you see so many San Antonio area transplants complaining of a mysterious cold, virus, or what we natives refer to as cedar fever after two years or so having moved here. A mountain cedar allergy can also hit you like it did me having grown up allergy-free, moved away, only to return to a newfound battle with it.
Out of all my patients tested for allergies, nearly half that come into my office for testing are allergic to mountain cedar. It is that common and rising. In 2014, 41-percent of our new patients at Advanced Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology tested positive for mountain cedar. So far in 2014, that statistic is already at 42-percent.
So how do we best manage this menace known as mountain cedar?
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