Medicines For Cedar Allergies

Cedar allergies are not really allergies to cedar pollen as some might think, but are instead an allergy to pollen from a tree called the Ashe Juniper. Cedar allergies are most common around Austin and San Antonio, TX where there are a large number of Ashe Junipers. The combination of warm days and cold nights causes the trees to bloom, and then the north winds cause the pollen to become very thick in the air. It is not at all uncommon to see clouds of this yellow pollen during cedar allergy season which starts in mid-December and goes until late March. Symptoms include runny noses, itchy, red-rimmed eyes and horrible congestion. Fortunately, there are medicines to combat these symptoms.


The best types of medicines for treating cedar allergies are antihistamines. Antihistamines can be purchased over the counter and with a prescription. There are type 1 antihistamines, which are medicines that have been around a long time and are considered to be very safe. A few examples would be medicines such as Benedryl and Chlor-Trimeton. And there are the newer antihistamines which are called type 2 and include medicines like Claritin and Allegra.

Antihistamines Warning

While antihistamines are quite effective for treating cedar allergies, they have the side effect of making people very sleepy. They are not really safe to take during the day when you have to work, drive a vehicle or do any other activity that might require you to concentrate.

Solution to Antihistamine Sleepiness

While there is the side effect of being very sleepy once you take an antihistamine for cedar allergies, there are some things you can do to counteract that side effect so you can still benefit from the medicinal effects of your antihistamine. You can find a combination drug that has both an antihistamine and a decongestant in it. Decongestants have a tendency to make you a bit hyper, so they will counteract the effects of the antihistamine, while also helping to dry up your nose. You can also drink caffeinated liquids to counteract the sleepiness. Finally, you can also try taking one of the type 2 antihistamines which don’t have the side effect of sleepiness.

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Function of Antihistamines

The function of antihistamines is to block a chemical produced by the body when reacting to an allergen such as cedar pollen, that is called a histamine. Histamine attaches itself to receptors on the cells of the nose and throat, making them leak fluid and swell up, causing the nasty reaction of a runny nose and an itchy throat with a lot of fluid running down it. When antihistamines block the histamine from doing this, it relieves your allergy symptoms.

Expert Insight

Many physicians suggest that in order for enough of the medication to remain in your bloodstream at all times and to keep your cedar allergy symptoms from coming back, that you should take your antihistamine at the same time every day. Also, according to Mosby’s Over-The-Counter Medicine Cabinet by Richard P. Donjon, you should take antihistamines every day from the first moment you begin experiencing cedar allergy symptoms and throughout the cedar allergy season. You should always follow dosing instructions carefully, as well.