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2017 is predicted to be one of the worst years ever for cedar. Only a week into the season, cedar pollen counts reached the second highest level in record history:  21,952 grains/cubic meter. Since then, cedar counts have been medium-to-high almost daily, leaving thousands of Austinites living in state of constant misery.

Thing is, we haven’t seen the worst of it yet:  I recently heard mid-February referred to as the Cedar-pocalypse. This is when cedar pollen –an aggressive allergen that many of us have been battling since December– will hit their absolute highest counts. When the male Mountain Cedar trees (technically Ashe Junipers) look like they’re on fire from the ‘smoky’ clouds of pollen billowing from their branches.

This is one of the prices we pay to live in wonderful Austin, Texas, right? I consulted local acupuncturist David Jones, for some easy things we can do right now to provide some relief. January through March in Austin has some of the best weather in the country. Try these three tactics so you can get out there and enjoy it. 

Experiment with Natural Remedies:  If you’ve had enough of the allergy shots & pills, this herbal product is one solution to try in battling cedar season. Fight the effects of cedar fever (sneezing, swollen sinuses, watery eyes) naturally by starting to use Herbalogic’s Easy Breather every day. Take one to two 500 mg capsules of Easy Breather a couple of times a day and supplement with herb drops as needed. You should feel instant relief. It combines ingredients long used in Chinese herbal traditions to promote clear sinuses and soothe occasional upper respiratory and eye irritation. Unlike formulas that cause nasal dryness or thirst, Easy Breather includes herbs to moisturize sinus passages and upper respiratory membranes.easy-breatherThe company is based in Austin and has grown 40% year-over-year. Their products are sold online and can be found in more than 500 retail outlets, including Wheatsville Co-op, People’s Pharmacy, Whole Foods Market and HEB. 

Focus on Your Feet:  We LOVE hiking Austin’s miles of greenbelt trails this time of year, and we refuse to let pesky cedar pollen stop us! Before you walk back into your home, be sure to wipe down shoes, jackets and even your hair – just because you can’t see the pollen doesn’t mean it’s not there. Upon entering, leave the shoes outside if you can and switch into fresh socks. Gold Toe socks are the perfect accessory to any adventure — big or small. “PowerSox“is Gold Toe’s new athletic line and the socks are perfect for all our outdoor fitness activities! powersoxThe boot socks, woven with merino wool & contour cushioning, are essential for anyone that loves a good hike as much as we do. For that trail run, bike ride, or rock climbing session, the no-show athletic socks have mesh panels to ensure breathability, while “AquaFX technology” works to keep feet dry.

Become a Clean Freak: Take extra showers and make it a habit to wash-up immediately after spending time outdoors. A hot shower can provide some sinus relief while getting rid of pollen on your body or hair. Clean your house (or have it professionally cleaned) at least once a week. Helpful tip: if you’ve been hit with cedar fever, get someone else to do the vacuuming. The dust-up can irritate your nose, which can be a nightmare if you’re already suffering. Most importantly:  WASH YOUR PILLOWCASES! If you normally wash sheets once a week, up it to 2 or 3 times a week, even if it’s just the pillowcases. You hair is like a magnet for cedar pollen and once your head hits the pillow each night, our poor noses are left to roll around in allergens all night. mollys-sudsY’all know I’m always looking out for a natural alternative if I’m using a product that often…Molly’s Suds is a great option to try over conventional laundry detergent. It’s perfect for those with allergies and sensitive skin. You can count the number of ingredients on both hands; it does not contain the long list of harsh chemicals found in conventional brands. Molly’s Suds can be found at retailers like Amazon, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.