Cedar pollen counts on the rise in Central Texas

(Courtesy: operativex YouTube)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The 100-degree heat is now a distant memory. Cool nights are being followed by comfortable afternoons. Windows are open again, as air conditioners are being given a rest. Yes, it is officially that time of year. It’s also that time of year when “puffs” of cedar pollen, the most allergenic pollen in Central Texas, are released into the air — starting what is known as “cedar fever season.”

On one hand, mid-December through early March, is considered by some to be the best time of the year — beloved for the break in baking temperatures and the prospect of not breaking a sweat the moment the door opens. For others, it is a dreadful time of year: when cedar pollen saturates the air and wreaks havoc on their eyes, throats and sinuses.

Today marked the first day Central Travis County has recorded a cedar pollen count over 100, by reaching nearly 1,000. Meanwhile, people in Williamson County have been battling cedar for a few days now. So far, the counts have been a bit higher, a bit earlier than normal. Allergists think we can attribute this to the November cold snap we witnessed nearly a month ago, along with recent rainfall.

Numbers thus far may be high for mid-December, but pale in comparison to the second highest count ever recorded — which happened earlier this year in mid-January.  On that day, when numbers were recorded above 21,000, the fire department was called a number of times due to people mistaking the cloud of pollen over the Greenbelt for smoke. Let’s hope we do not see a repeat of that any time soon.

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