Nurse’s Notes: Cedar Fever

nurses-notesHave you or your child experienced a rather sudden onset of sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, congestion and runny nose? It could be cedar fever, a phenomenon unique to the Southwest.

While the winter season often brings relief to those suffering with seasonal allergies, in parts of the Southwest, including Arizona, the Ashe Juniper tree, commonly referred to as the mountain cedar, releases its pollen between December 15th and February 15th.

Cedar fever symptoms are similar to those of hay fever and because they begin so suddenly, and during peak cold and flu season, people often think they are coming down with the flu. However, most influenza infections will be accompanied by fever. Cedar fever does not manifest with a fever, but can leave one feeling pretty lousy.

Keeping cedar pollen contact to a minimum is important. Changing clothes after being outside and taking a bath or shower before bed to wash pollen off skin and hair is helpful, as well as keeping doors and windows closed. Over-the-counter allergy preparations can treat allergy symptoms. If these measures do not relieve symptoms or if your child has an associated fever, please see your primary care provider.

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