3 Ways that Mountain Cedar Allergy Can Ruin Your Winter Season

Three Reasons That Mountain Cedar Wreaks Havoc On The Allergy Sufferer

A mountain cedar tree releasing pollen.. University of Tulsa

 Most people think that wintertime brings much needed relief to the allergy sufferer. Unfortunately, some parts of the country have trees that pollinate during the winter months, causing some of the worst allergy symptoms of the year. These trees, which are in the Cedar/Juniper/Cypress family, are notorious for causing what people refer to as “Cedar Fever”.

Cedar Fever refers to allergy symptoms caused by pollen from Cedar, Juniper or Cypress trees.

These symptoms are the same as hay fever -- sneezing, itchy nose, nasal congestion and a runny nose. Many people will also experience eye allergies, to include red, itchy and watery eyes. Certain people can also experience worsening asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness.

Mountain Cedar is a type of juniper tree found mainly in South and Central Texas that pollinates in the winter, from December through March. It is usually the only major pollen present during the wintertime in the areas where it grows. Mountain cedar can release such large amounts of pollen that the trees can appear to be on fire, with large clouds of “smoke” rising from the trees.

Other parts of the United States have related species of cedar, juniper and cypress trees that cause winter or springtime allergies. Because pollen is so similar within this family of trees, a person who is allergic to mountain cedar pollen will also be allergic to pollen from juniper and cypress trees.

Allergic Rhinitis

Mountain Cedar is well known to result in serious nasal allergies, called allergic rhinitis. Also known as Hay Fever, allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic disease, affecting up to 30 percent of the population. It is the most common reason for chronic sinus and nose problems.

Children and young adults are the most common age groups affected by this disease, although many older adults and elderly people also experience symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is defined as inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages due to seasonal and year-round allergens. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itching of the nose, and postnasal drip.

Learn about the common treatments for allergic rhinitis.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Mountain Cedar can also cause significant eye allergy symptoms, called allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms allergic conjunctivitis includes watery, itchy, red, sore, swollen and stinging of the eyes. Itching of the eyes is the most important symptom of allergic conjunctivitis. Without itching, it is much less likely that a person is suffering from allergies of the eyes. Both eyes are usually affected, although one eye may be more symptomatic than the other. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is the most common form of eye allergy, with grass and ragweed pollens being the most important seasonal triggers.

In certain regions of the country, however, such as South/Central Texas, Mountain Cedar may be the most common cause of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.

Learn about treatments for allergic conjunctivitis.


Asthma is a chronic lung disease causing the lung airways become inflamed, which leads to narrowing of the airways. The muscles around the airways become more sensitive, and can react to allergens, such as pollens, and other irritants. Asthma can be a life-threatening disease, and there are typically a few thousand deaths in the United States every year as a result of this disease.

The most common symptoms of asthma include wheezing (a high-pitched squeaking sound occurring during breathing in and out), a sensation of chest tightness or heaviness, a sense of not getting enough air, and coughing. Not all people with asthma will have all of these symptoms. Many people with asthma may only have a cough – this type is termed “cough-variant asthma”.

Airborne pollen is a common cause of worsening asthma, especially when pollen is found in large concentrations in the air. Certain geographic areas are known to have very high amounts of certain kinds of pollen in the air during specific times of the year. In South Central Texas, Mountain Cedar is present in high concentrations in the air during the winter months. The high amount of Mountain Cedar is known to cause asthma symptoms in predisposed people.

Learn more about what pollen counts mean.


Weber RW. Mountain Cedar. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001; 86:1.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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