Back at the beginning of January I noticed that I would go for a walk and then spend two days fighting to breath even with the allergy treatments I habitually take during heightened allergy periods. I could handle the difficulty breathing, I’ve dealt with allergies all my life and with the limited lung capacity that borderline asthma gifted me with at birth.
Then the two-day migraines started, and that was a deal breaker as far as outside exercise goes. I’ve been walking outside so often over the last few years that I have gotten out of the habit of using the treadmill; aside from which the dog sits on the floor next to the treadmill and glares at me while I walk on it, incensed that I would have the gall to exercise without him. So I’ve been cooling my heels indoors for a bit, avoiding the wrath of the dog. His plaintive looks when we don’t go outside and exercise are hard enough to bear.
I’ve been suspecting that I was becoming allergic to Juniper pollen for several years now. It never has come up as red flag allergy in previous skin tests that I’ve submitted to, but the lungs don’t lie. Juniper/Cedar pollen has been phenomenally high this year (Jan 10, Cedar 2,937 gr/m3) starting right about the time that I started having difficulty breathing and suffering from prolonged migraine headaches.
Austinites know what Cedar Fever is:
McGreevy said early Texas pioneers first called ashe juniper trees “cedar” because of its similarities to Eastern red cedar, but neither tree is truly a cedar tree. “When the Europeans first came here (to the New World) and they encountered our Eastern red cedar, they called it cedar because of its aroma.”kxan.com
So I ordered some N95 masks that I really couldn’t afford to wear regularly and started wearing a mask while walking again just to see if that helped. The migraines did go away eventually, but the breathing hasn’t gotten much better. I need to talk to an allergist again just to see if there is anything else I can do aside from not go outside, but I have little doubt in my mind that it is the Ashe Juniper that is causing my symptoms. Why? Because I did a little impromptu experimentation yesterday.
I had to drive the Wife to get scoped at the hospital. Yes, the dreaded cameras plugged into every orifice routine that we older people seem to have to endure with ever-increasing frequency was her Monday appointment. With Austin still being on high COVID alert, the hospitals swamped, it was an all-day affair for me waiting on her to be done and driven back home. At least I didn’t have to endure the prep and the procedure. Small mercies.
There is an excellent exercise trail that runs next to the hospital so I put on my walking shoes and set out for a 2 mile aimless ramble just to kill some time and get out of the car. As I was admiring the landscape and inspecting the visible architecture I noticed a smell. What was that smell? Like a cleaning solution. Pinesol? I looked up and there was an Ashe Juniper right over my head, dusting the trail with its spores, and I didn’t have my mask on.
I hurriedly slipped on the mask cursing myself for not having thought to put it on previously, but I knew that I would have a result to the question of Cedar Fever or not very soon. Today, with my lungs filled with sandpaper once again I can say emphatically, it’s definitely Cedar Fever.
It’s on the verge of May and my chest is still congested. It’s going to be a bad allergy year this year.