In Austin, we’ve entered the season where everyone around town exclaims, “It’s that time of the year!” Nope, I’m not talking about the kids being crazy excited for their winter break or the Christmas music that’s been playing (and is still playing) in every store for the last two months. Folks, I’m talking about this:
(image via Andy Heatwole)
“The trees spontaneously combust in Austin this time of year?” Well, kind of. I’d like to introduce you to cedar season in Austin. Beginning in December and lasting through January, the Mountain Cedar trees that plague our fine city release their pollen into the air with such fervor that it looks like the trees are on fire. When Tom and I were first married, we lived at an apartment complex on top of a hill of cedar trees. One day, I looked out and I thought our entire hill was engulfed in flames. He may have received a frantic call at work that day.
The longer you live in Austin, the worse your cedar allergy gets. I silently chuckle at the unaffected newcomers. It’ll get you my pretty. And your little dog, too! Eventually, they will get to play fun games, like this one of my friends recently posted on Facebook:
So, why do people continue to still live in a place where everyone is sniffling, sneezing and itching for about two months a year. Well, because it’s AUSTIN, and if you’ve ever been here, you understand.
According to the CDC, allergies cannot be prevented, but allergic reactions can be. Here in Austin, my family and I have just learned some ways to help cope with the inevitable cedar pollen. Here are my three go-tos:
Using Essential Oils – I’ve only recently gotten started using essential oils to minimize my symptoms to seasonal allergens, and my favorite mixture is a blend of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint oils that I put together. I mix them in equal parts into a little roller bottle, and I roll it across my forehead, under my eyes, down my nose and below my nose every morning.
Changing Out Air Filters – Even though it is still relatively warm outside, I keep all of the doors and windows in my home closed during cedar season. For those allergen particles that are able to breach the perimeter, I like to use the Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction Filters (MPR 1900) in our HVAC system. These filters are effective at capturing 93% of large airborne particles like pollen, dust and mold spores from the air passing through the filter. They can also help capture particles that can carry airborne bacteria and viruses from the air passing through the filter.
Keeping the House Clean – Vacuuming and dusting the house is definitely not what I want to be doing when my allergy symptoms have me down for the count. I have found that if I keep up on my housework and try to capture as much of the pet dander, pollens and household dust that I can, I feel better in the long run. I make sure that I empty my vacuum cleaner outside so that I don’t release the junk back into the air inside my house. I also use an electrostatic duster or microfiber cloth that can be washed for the same reason.
After living in Austin for nearly 20 years, I have found my little cedar season combatting formula works great for us. There were certainly years that I wanted to take a chainsaw to every smoking cedar tree I saw, but all that has changed. Now, the trees and I can live in harmony like I was an Austin newbie.
I am proud to be a 3M-sponsored blogger, and as part of my responsibilities, I get the opportunity to evaluate 3M products. Opinions are my own and additional products used in this post were selected by me.