The Texas Curse

The annual Texas curse is back. It hits me the worst about this time every year. Cedar Fever. When the airborne pollen hits your nose, it mimics a really, really bad cold with its own special features.

You know you have it when your eyes burn and the roof of your mouth itches. And you get into sneezing fits while your nose runs. If it goes on and on until you want to die, that’s cedar fever. But despite the common name, it’s not “cedar trees” behind it. It’s juniper that the Hill Country’s early Anglo settlers called Mountain Cedar. Know thy enemy.

Nowadays, thanks to the damn birds carrying the seeds around, the trees grow all up and down the I-35 corridor, from about Waco in the north to San Antonio in the south. People in Beaumont, way over on the Gulf coast east of Houston, swear that a really strong cold front will bring the juniper pollen to them, too.

Texas Monthly claims cedar fever only lasts a week. They lie. It can begin in November and go on until around Valentine’s. Every year Austin allergists come up with a different reason why it’s so bad: too much rain, not enough rain, too cold, too warm. After 35 years of it I’m convinced they know nothing and have no remedies. Except a series of pollen shots you have to start in the spring. They’re expensive and they frequently don’t work.

Every year I swear I’m going to move to West Texas (preferably Alpine) to get away from this. But I never do. Maybe someday. The only blessing a really bad cedar fever season brings is to thin out of some of  Austin’s godawful traffic.

2 responses to “The Texas Curse

  1. When I lived so blissfully in College Station, it was explained that the reason that allergies were so bad there was due to the fact that it was the Brazos River valley, with all that crap it the air settling into the lower regions.
    I found a greater hell when I had to move near the Willamette River valley in Oregon, one of the major grass-seed growing areas in the world. Besides the depressing weather, allergies are horrible out here.
    And since when do you believe anything written in Texas Monthly anyhow?

  2. Pollen: I was surprised you talk about pollen already and looked at the weather report for Austin. And what do you know: we have the same weekly forecast again… wow.