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If you live in Austin now or have ever called Central Texas home, you will know all about “Cedar Fever.” For those unfamiliar with the term, it is the catchy, harmless-sounding name Austinites give to the debilitating group of symptoms some of us suffer through every winter due to cedar pollen.

I can hear some of you scoffing… “it’s just allergies, how bad could it be?” I know, right? I was in that camp too until Cedar Fever hit me like a freight train a few years ago and has continued to come around annually since. This is a typical story for folks in Austin as the cedar allergen typically takes a few years to affect the immune system. Typical symptoms can make you feel like you have the flu – sinus congestion, headaches, fatigue, watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, some may even develop a fever and chills.

The first time it affected me I thought I did have the flu… but then it lasted for a month. Once I finally got over it and was able to look back on it with a functioning brain, it became clear that I had finally experienced Cedar Fever. I now consider myself a true Ausitinite!

The good news for me was that I was prepared for it the following year. Acupuncture treatments and chinese herbs specifically focused on modulating the immune system for 1-2 months prior to cedar season greatly reduced my allergy symptoms. I did still have some symptoms, but they were easily managed with self-care and occasional acupuncture treatments and additional chinese herbs. Chinese medicine has ways to prepare your body for the allergens and helping it not completely overreact to the pathogens. When the alternative to this is the Western Medicine approach of taking anti-histamines and steroids daily once the symptoms start, I am happy to be proactive with my health with a side-effect free, completely safe approach.

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