Cedars (Cedrus) are mountain trees which are originally from the mountains of the Mediterranean region and the Western Himalaya. These trees can grow up 60 meters. The tree has a spicy resinous smell and the leaves are needle like and evergreen. Cedars are popular ornamental trees and they are often used in horticulture. The cedar wood is used in making furniture such as closets and chests and the cedar oil also has many uses. The pollen from cedar trees can sometimes cause cedar poisoning allergy. This is common among people who live near mountain cedars such as those living in Central Texas.
Mountain Cedar Allergy
People in the Northern hemisphere often experience allergic reactions during the months of May and March due to the pollens from different trees such as ash, elm and oaks. In the case of mountain cedars, people can suffer from cedar poisoning allergy even during the winter months. In Central Texas, the main culprit is the mountain cedar (Juniperus ashei). This tree pollinates during the months of November to February. During this time, the air is usually full of mountain cedar pollens because the pollen is very buoyant and it can be carried for miles.
The allergic reaction to mountain cedar is attributed to the glycoprotein in mountain cedar pollens. Because of its high density, glycoprotein can cause allergic rhinitis. The allergen from mountain cedars can affect the lining tissue of the lungs, eyes and nose. Some of the common signs and symptoms of mountain cedar allergy are runny nose, sore throat, watery and itchy allergy eyes, congestion, sneezing and nasal blockage. Aside from the sign and symptoms, cedar allergy can also cause other effects such as limiting a person’s activity because allergy sufferers should stay indoors. It can also cause fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, loss of sleep and emotional distress.
Aside from the pollen from cedar trees, the cedar wood can also cause cedar poisoning allergy and other respiratory problems. Cedar wood is often used in making chests and closets because cedar wood is a moth repellant. In addition, cedar wood chips are also used as beddings for pets. It has been observed that both humans and animals can develop allergic reactions to cedar wood. The main culprit is the plicatic acid found in cedar woods. This acid can trigger allergic reactions and in some cases asthma. Among the different kinds of cedars, the western red cedar has the highest concentration of plicatic acid. Humans who are continuously exposed to cedar wood, chips and shavings can develop symptoms of allergy such as allergic rhinitis, asthma and conjunctivitis. If you are already suffering from these conditions, exposure to cedar wood will worsen your condition. The pathology of how plicatic acid causes allergic reaction is still unclear. However, it has been noticed that prolonged exposure to cedar wood can cause type 1 hypersensitivity reactions and type 4 hypersensitivity reactions.
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention of cedar poisoning allergy is not easy especially during the winter months. Those who have allergic reactions to cedar should limit their activities outdoors, as much as possible stay at home. If you have to go out avoid doing so from 5 to 10 in the morning because cedar pollen count is highest during these times. In addition, close your doors and windows at all times. In addition, use filters in your air conditioners which will help keep cedar pollens from entering your home. You should also shower and change your clothes every time you go out. If you have cedar furniture, you should get rid of them. If there are cedar trees in your backyard, you should also cut them down and replace them with other kinds of wood. Take the necessary medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Treatment for cedar poisoning allergy depends on the symptoms presented. Alternative allergy treatments such as holistic methods such as aromatherapy, homeopathic and acupuncture are recommended.
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