Some time around Christmas every year, people stop going outside in Central Texas and spend 4 to 6 weeks hiding indoors waiting for the dreaded cedar pollen season to end. Practically everyone is allergic to the yellow dust that fills the air (no, it’s not wildfire smoke, it’s pollen). Here’s the culprit – a male Ashe Juniper tree (juniperus ashei, commonly known as “cedar” but variously described as mountain cedar, post cedar or blueberry cedar) covered in tiny pollen sacs. Most of the landscape around here is covered in these trees and, at this time of year, any gust of wind will result in clouds of “smoke” appearing as the pollen is released.
When I first arrived in Texas, I had 18 blissful months without any allergies. After my second Christmas, I caught “flu” but was surprised when it disappeared after I took antihistamines. It turns out that you develop an allergy to cedar pollen after a while so I’ve just got used to taking multiple pills, sprays and drops from Christmas through the end of January or so.
For the technically inclined...
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