Highland Lakes get little break from ‘Cedar Fever’
January 16, 2014, 7:10 pm by Emily Zendt
Record-high levels of ashe juniper pollen — referred to
locally as "cedar”— continue to afflict
"I can tell you these are the highest levels I’ve seen in
(our area),” said Dr. Gary Albertson, M.D., an allergist at Victory Allergy
Once the pollen is on the ground it causes much less irritation, according to Albertson. He attributes this year’s spark in cedar pollen levels to the drought two years ago.
"The trees that survived will put out more pollen as a self preservation tactic,” Albertson noted.
This month cedar pollen counts have reached as high as 16,675 grains per cubic meter (gr/m3) last Saturday, Jan. 11 and continue to stay above 2,000 gr/m3 this week until Thursday when levels dipped slightly to 1608 gr/m3, according to data compiled by KVUE-TV meteorologists. Last January, the highest day cedar pollen count was 2,167 gr/m3 on Jan. 20, with the lowest count being 7 gr/m3. The lowest count this month has been 7 gr/m3 on Jan. 7 and 8.
"The trees are just packed full of cedar pollen — the best thing would be a heavy rain or hail to knock it all out of the trees,” Albertson said. "If we don’t, we’ve got another four months of this.”
The high levels of cedar even have physicians dismissing age-old Hill Country folk remedies like cedar tea — a homeopathic brew made with the tree’s berries. It may not even be enough to ward off cedar fever this season.
For the full story, see the weekend edition of The Highlander.
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