Day of the Dead? No, It’s Just The Cedar

Exploding Cedar!

More than 150 people move to Austin each day. I’m positive that no one’s told them about the cedar, or else they wouldn’t be silly enough to move here. (Thinking that maybe Amazon heard about it and that’s why they decided not to build here??? Maybe not.)

If you’re thinking about moving to Austin…don’t – unless you own stock in the companies that make Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra and neti pots. Because the question isn’t whether the cedar will come for you. The question is when the cedar will come for you.

“Cedar fever” comes from the pollen thrown off by the hundreds of thousands of cedar and mountain juniper trees across Texas.

When rains have been plentiful, (like they were this year), those industrious, insidious, horny male cedar trees make lots and lots of pollen that they throw out into the universe, looking for lady cedar trees to land on and make more little cedars. Sadly, most of that pollen instead ends up in the Texas Hill Country from December through February…inside human noses instead of on lady cedars. (Check out this horrifying video of a cloud of cedar pollen.)

I lived in Austin for about 12 years before I finally succumbed to the yearly snot fest known as Cedar Fever.

Sufferers don’t generally have a real fever during cedar fever, unless the cedar turns into a sinus infection or bronchitis, which it does from time to time. No, cedar fever mostly consists of an itchy throat or ears (or both), sore throat, headache, sneezing, runny nose, scratchy eyes, runny eyes and a deep, deep feeling of tiredness.

The entire city of Austin turns into a zombie movie from December through February. Everywhere you turn, there are people whose eyes are running, whose noses are running, who look like they need a righteous nap for about 20 years. It’s not unusual to see people walking around or working in their yards while wearing facemasks, trying to keep from breathing in the pollen while actually enjoying life. (Hint: it doesn’t really work.)

Even though the cedar season traditionally doesn’t start until after Christmas, those randy junipers couldn’t wait to get started this year. This week, my head has been pounding, my throat has been scratchy, I’ve been super tired, I’m already losing my voice…and local meteorologists and allergists have been saying that cedar season will start any minute.

News flash: weather guys, you missed the boat. Cedar season has already started.

If you’ve just moved to town, welcome. Grab a facemask. You’re going to need it.