Cedar Fever Explained: Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis, Cure, and More


How do you treat cedar fever?

Cedar fever is an intense reaction to juniper pollen allergy with flu-like symptoms. Short-term treatments are antihistamines, nasal sprays and rinses, decongestants, corticosteroids, and other allergy medicines. Long-term relief occurs with sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops, which trains your immune system to ignore pollen.

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What Is Cedar Fever?

Cedar fever is an extreme flu-like allergy caused by mountain cedar pollen or red cedar pollen, also known as Ashe juniper and Virginia juniper. While this drought-tolerant evergreen grows from Mexico through Texas to Missouri, the density of forests in central Texas make Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Forth Worth cedar fever hotspots from November to March. 

While cedar fever season runs November through March, December is when the tree releases one of the highest concentrations of pollen seen from any plant on the planet. Clouds of pollen envelop entire towns and cities. If the conditions are right, pollen can spread more than 100 miles in one day. For the 1 in 4 Americans with a mountain cedar allergy, this means winter is a season on misery.

When Is Cedar Fever Season?

Cedar fever is caused by the mountain cedar tree, which pollinates in the winter. Cedar fever season starts in November and ends in March, but the peak of the mountain cedar pollen season is in December and January.

Cedar Fever Season Start, Peak, and End

When Does Cedar Fever Season Start?

Cedar fever season begins when the juniper trees, also known as mountain cedar trees, release tree pollen. This usually occurs in late fall or early winter, specifically November and December. Cedar fever season will peak in December and January, and it will end in March.

When Is Peak Cedar Fever Season?

Cedar fever season typically peaks in December and January in the Texas and the Southwestern United States. This is when the highest levels of mountain cedar (juniper) tree pollen, which causes cedar fever, are released into the air. Symptoms of cedar fever, such as sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes, may be more severe during this time.

When Does Cedar Fever Season End?

Cedar fever season typically ends in the late winter or early spring, either February or March. This happens because the mountain cedar (juniper) trees stop releasing pollen. The exact timing of the end of cedar fever season can vary depending on the weather and other factors. In general, cedar fever season lasts from the fall through the early spring months in Texas and Southwestern United States.

What Causes Cedar Fever?

Cedar fever's allergy symptoms are a form of allergic rhinitis, much like hay fever. Cedar fever is caused by the release of cedar pollen. This includes mountain cedar and red cedar, also known as Ashe juniper and Virginia juniper respectively.

In central Texas, especially Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Forth Worth, the high concentration of Ashe juniper all release pollen at once. This creates a wave of mountain cedar allergies, also known as cedar fever. Red cedar (Virginia juniper) and Rocky Mountain juniper also pollinate and add to the pollen surge. This is why cedar fever is so severe -- there is an incredible amount of pollen in the air.

Texas Cedar Fever Map

Cedar trees release large quantities of pollen in the winter. This is different from most other trees, which pollinate in the spring. From November to March, after a cold front, cedar trees pollinate. The weather conditions in Texas are perfect for all these trees to pollinate together all at once.

Cedar Fever Map

What Are Common Symptoms of Cedar Fever?

Cedar fever symptoms match those of hay fever and allergies (allergic rhinitis).

  • Fatigue and extreme tiredness

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Sneezing

  • Itchy, runny nose

  • Congestion

  • Cough

  • Itchy throat

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • Blocked ears

  • Blocked sinuses

Cedar fever is often confused with the colds, flu, or COVID-19. However, these other illnesses have symptoms which cedar fever will not cause, such as yellow mucus, muscle aches, high fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Funnily enough, mountain cedar fever symptoms don't include fever!

Cedar Fever vs COVID-19 Comparison

Can Cedar Fever Be Cured?

Cedar fever is an allergy. With allergy immunotherapy, you can live without allergies ever again. Allergy immunotherapy trains your immune system to ignore its allergy triggers.

Allergy immunotherapy involves introducing your body to small amounts of its allergy triggers. Over time, your body stops experiencing allergy symptoms. You will have trained your immune system to beat allergies. This is similar to training your body to lift weights. You start with the 5 pound dumbbell. With time and training, you can lift a 400 pound barbell.

Many patients consider immunotherapy a safer, holistic way to treat their allergies than using daily antihistamines because immunotherapy uses naturally-occurring allergens. They also consider immunotherapy an allergy cure because it gives them a life without allergies.

Allergy Drop Sublingual Immunotherapy

Allergy drop sublingual immunotherapy is can also be taken from the comfort of your home. This is Wyndly's preferred treatment, and there are thousands of success stories. Allergy drop patients see significantly reduced allergy symptoms within weeks without ever setting foot in a doctors office.

Allergy Shot Immunotherapy

Allergy shots are also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy. This method of allergy immunotherapy requires frequent injections to expose your immune system for desensitization. It usually requires weekly doctor's visits for an injection for many years.

How Is A Cedar Fever Allergy Diagnosed and Tested?

An allergy test narrows down which allergens cause allergy symptoms. It also lets your doctor confirm their diagnosis. With an allergy test, you can easily identify all pollen types you need to avoid, not just mountain cedar. Wyndly makes allergy testing pain-free and convenient with our at-home allergy tests.

Modern and Efficient At-Home Allergy Test Kits

  1. Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.

  2. Take the allergy test and send it back to us. Just do a quick finger prick test to provide us with a blood sample and mail it back when you’re done.

  3. Receive your personal allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through your treatment plan.

Unlike self-diagnosis, an allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way you know exactly what you’re allergic to and how you can treat your symptoms.

What Treatments Work For Cedar Fever?

There are many treatments for cedar fever symptoms:

  • OTC antihistamines and decongestants

  • Nasal sprays

  • Prescription allergy medicine

  • Sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops)

  • Allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots)

  • Natural allergy remedies

  • Avoidance and preventive care

If you want treatment to be successful, make sure to consult with a medical professional and make a personalized treatment plan specific to your needs!

Best Antihistamines For Cedar Fever

Antihistamines can reduce many allergy symptoms of cedar fever including itchy eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose, and sneezing.

Here are the best over-the-counter OTC antihistamines for cedar fever allergies:

  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)

  • Loratadine (Claritin)

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Here are the best prescription antihistamines:

Best Decongestants For Cedar Fever

Here's how decongestants work: Allergies cause nasal inflammation making the lining of your nose swell. Decongestants shrink swollen blood vessels and tissues. That relieves the congestion and opens up the nasal airways. Here are the best decongestants for cedar fever:

  • Silfedrine, Sudafed, Suphedrin (pseudoephedrine)

  • Sudafed PE, Suphedrin PE (phenylephrine)

  • Afrin (oxymetazoline)

  • Antihistamines combined with decongestants, like Allegra-D, Claritin-D, and Zyrtec-D.

Best Nasal Sprays For Cedar Fever

Nasal sprays reduce inflammation and open up airways. They enter the body through nasal mucous membranes, reduce inflammation, reduce congestion, and reduce sinus pressure. Here are the best nasal sprays for cedar fever:

  • Azelastine nasal sprays (Astelin, Astepro)

  • Fluticasone (Flonase)

  • Mometasone (Nasonex)

What Are Natural Remedies For Cedar Fever?

Natural remedies are perfect for anyone who doesn't want the side effects of a drug. There are many natural remedies that many people claim help with cedar fever:

  • Nasal rinse & irrigation

  • Neti pot

  • Herbal remedies

  • Local honey

Consult with a medical professional to see if these remedies will work for you.

How To Prevent and Prepare for Cedar Fever Season?

Cedar fever can be prevented during cedar fever season with a few simple steps:

  • Avoid the mountain cedar pollen

  • Regular wash anything pollen can stick to: hair, fur, and carpet especially!

  • Keep windows closed

  • Buy a HEPA air purifier

  • Use a pollen tracker

Assuming you can’t leave your area during allergy season, there are other options for reducing cedar fever symptoms. If you use allergy medication, start taking it daily in mid-to-late November.

Wash Hair, Clothes, Pets, and Carpets

Pollen grain and mold spores float through the air and can gather in your hair during the day. If you don’t wash your hair before bed, you spread these particles to your pillow, then to your face. Not only should you wash your hair before bed, but wash your pillowcases regularly, too!

Just like mountain cedar pollen sticks to your hair, it also clings to your eyebrows and the fine hairs on your skin. With pollen so close to your eyes, they may become itchy or watery. You can reduce your cedar fever allergy symptoms by washing your eyebrows a few times a day.

While you may enjoy the scent of laundry fresh off the line, you won’t like it during the cedar fever months. Freshly cleaned clothes act like magnets for mountain cedar pollen, which sticks to the fabric! Dry clothes indoors or use a machine dryer if you have one.

Vacuuming can help to reduce the levels of pollen and other allergens in your home, which may help to alleviate symptoms of cedar fever or other allergies. When you vacuum, it can remove pollen and other allergens from carpets, furniture, and other surfaces, helping to create a cleaner, less allergen-filled environment.

Washing your pets can help to reduce the levels of pollen and other allergens on their fur. By washing your pets regularly, you can help to remove pollen and other allergens from their fur, reducing the amount of allergens present in your home. This can be especially helpful during cedar fever season, when the levels of juniper tree pollen, which can cause cedar fever, are highest. It is important to use mild, hypoallergenic shampoo to avoid irritating your pet's skin.

Finally, allergens can build up on the surface of contact lenses and come in direct contact with your eyes. Consider switching to disposable lenses during cedar fever allergy season. You may even want to ditch contact lenses altogether for the holidays and opt for glasses instead.

Invest in a HEPA Air Purifier

Air cleaners and purifiers are great for those who suffer during cedar fever allergy season. These devices are great for your home, especially bedrooms, as they remove pollutants and impurities from the air you breathe, including mountain cedar pollen.

Keep Windows Closed

Because pollen is so minuscule and spreads so easily in the wind, open windows act as an invitation to the unwanted allergens. Protect yourself at home and in the car by keeping windows closed. Routinely clean your air filters as well. Spores can gather in them and be unintentionally spread throughout your living space.

Track the Pollen Count

It’s easier than ever to get the daily pollen count. Whether you check the news, or weather channel, or download an app, knowing when pollen is high allows you to prepare and pivot your plans when necessary.

Suffering From Severe Cedar Fever Symptoms?

Allergy specialists often recommend antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays for cedar fever symptoms. Most recommend starting with over-the-counter medications, especially if your symptoms are mild. If your symptoms are severe or don’t show signs of improvement, schedule an allergy appointment to see if a prescription could help. Looking for a long-term solution? Schedule a consultation at Wyndly today to see if allergy immunotherapy is right for you!

Why Is It Called Cedar Fever Not Juniper Fever?

It is very confusing that cedar fever isn't from cedars nor is it a fever! It's allergies caused by junipers! Seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms are often called hay fever, so the "fever" in cedar fever is understandable. But why cedar and not juniper?

Author and researcher Elizabeth McGreevy discusses the answer in her book Wanted! Mountain Cedars: Dead and Alive. When European settlers first came to the Americas, they called every fragrant and aromatic tree a cedar. In Europe and Asia, every fragrant tree was a cedar, which is why they initially used that name in the Americas. First was the aromatic eastern red cedar, which is actually the Virginia juniper. Then, in Texas, the Ashe juniper was named the mountain cedar.

By the time scientific names were established and the junipers were given their proper names, Juniperus ashei and Juniperus virginiana, it was too late to change. Colloquially, Ashe juniper will be mountain cedar, and Virginia juniper will be red cedar.

Here is a list of common junipers in Texas and their cedar names, too.

Tree Ashe Juniper Virginia Juniper Rocky Mountain Juniper
Scientific Name Juniperus Ashei Juniperus Virginiana Juniperus Scopulorum
Primary Location Central Texas East Texas West Texas
Also Known As
  • Mountain Cedar
  • Rock Cedar
  • Post Cedar
  • Texas Cedar
  • Blueberry Juniper
  • Mexican Juniper
  • Red Cedar
  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Eastern Juniper
  • Red Juniper
  • Pencil Cedar
  • Carolina Cedar
  • Aromatic Cedar
  • Rocky Mountain Red Cedar
  • Mountain Red Cedar
  • Colorado Red Cedar
  • Western Red Cedar
  • River Juniper
  • Western Juniper


Cedar Fever in Texas

While cedar fever isn’t found only in Texas, nor is it the only allergy in Texas, the Lone Star State does have more mountain cedar and junipers than any other area of the country.

Southwest Allergen Zone Map, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Cedar Fever Hotspots

When Is Cedar Fever in Texas?

The Texas cedar fever season starts in late November and runs through April, reaching peak pollen levels from December through February.

Why Is Cedar Fever So Bad in Texas?

Cedar fever is especially bad in Texas because the center of the state has large areas of Ashe juniper trees. During cedar fever season an extraordinary amount of pollen is released. This is a particularly bad Texas allergy season.

What Are Texas Cedar Fever Allergy Drops?

The only effective way to reduce cedar fever long-term is through immunotherapy. And cedar fever allergy drops make it easier than ever! With Wyndly, you can have your allergy test and treatment delivered right to your door.

Get Long-Term Relief From Cedar Fever Symptoms

Whether you live, work, or plan to visit an area impacted by cedar fever any time from November through March, be prepared for the potential impact of mountain cedar pollen! At Wyndly, our allergy specialists can help reduce your cedar fever by providing guidance and relief through science-based allergy treatments delivered right to your door. Order your at-home test kit today to learn what Wyndly can do for you and your allergies.



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