Along with the cold weeks of January comes the annual, unwelcome cedar pollen, which triggers allergies and cedar fever.
Cedar is a common allergen in Central Texas that contributes to Austin’s ranking in the top five worst cities for seasonal respiratory allergies, according to the website for University Health Services. UHS medical director Dr. Theresa Spalding said while seasonal allergies are not 100 percent preventable there are ways to lessen the body’s response to them.
“Once you know it is the specific time of year you suffer from allergies, take allergy pills which will help ease your symptoms,” Spalding said.
The Forty Acres Pharmacy in the Student Services Building offers over-the-counter medicines as well as filled prescriptions to help cedar fever. For those who react to allergies more severely than the average person, Spalding said a sensitization shot allows for the body to be much less responsive to the cedar and other pollens. Spalding said, however, these treatments are no use without regular showers because the showers wash pollen off the body.
“While it is hard to predict exactly who will be affected, by taking the necessary precautions you are less likely to suffer and will fight off reactions to cedar pollen,” Spalding said.
There are a number of services on campus available to students who may be troubled by cedar fever, said Sherry Bell, senior program coordinator for the UHS. Bell said students should visit healthyhorns.utexas.edu to find out more about how to prevent seasonal allergies like cedar fever.
“Students can always call the UHS 24 hour advice line if they’re suffering from allergy symptoms and need self care advice or help determining if they need to see a health care provider,” Bell said.
Because many are unfamiliar with cedar, often times UT students react quite severely to it, Bell said.
“I find myself having to blow my nose every five minutes,” psychology sophomore Chris Gonzales said. “And it’s even worse in class when there is very little you can do to stop your nose from running or sneezing uncontrollably.”