A couple of weeks ago, I was sure I was coming down with a cold. I was sneezing like crazy, my nose was runny, I was coughing, and breathing through my nose was out of the question.

When my eyes became so red and irritated that I could barely open them, I remembered: Oh, it's cedar pollen season.


Thankfully some Flonase took care of the worst symptoms, but some people aren't so lucky. I have a friend who seems to be immune to the effects of any allergy medication. The poor guy's miserable right now.

At at time when many of us are paranoid about catching the 'rona, cedar fever is even more unwelcome than usual. Trending stories have headlines like "Cedar Fever or COVID-19?", and break down the differences between the symptoms.

Cedar pollen can cause those of us allergic to it to lose our sense of smell, feel fatigued, have a sore throat and runny nose, and even run a slight fever.

In the time of coronavirus, those can be some nerve-wracking symptoms.

However, there are some key differences between cedar fever symptoms and those of COVID-19. The Texas A&M Forest Service put together a handy Venn diagram to display the similarities and differences. I'll also list them below in case the image doesn't load in your browser.

Texas A&M Forest Service
Texas A&M Forest Service


  • Fever
  • Aches and Pains
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Smell

Cedar Fever:

  • Blocked Nasal Passages
  • Itchy, Watery Eyes
  • Clear Mucus
  • Itchy Sensation
  • Sneezing


  • Loss of Taste
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever Above 101.5°

If you're new to Central Texas and are wondering what's making you so miserable right now, you can thank the Ashe junipers. Unlike most plants, Ashe junipers pollinate during the winter, usually after a cold front. It'll be late January or early February until they back off a little, and if this winter remains mild, it may not be so bad this year.

If your symptoms get to be too bad and allergy medicines like antihistamines don't help, be sure to talk to a doctor. Back in December of 2018, my cedar allergies were so bad that my eyes were almost swelled shut. My doctor ended up having to give me a steroid shot. It made me hyper as hell for a few hours, but it meant I could see and breathe again.

That won't be the best treatment for everyone, so definitely get a doctor's advice.

If you have any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, please don't hesitate to be seen by a doctor.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some Flonase to inhale. Good luck, Central Texas! Stay strong.

LOOK: 20 tips to help your houseplants survive the winter


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