As the cedar season arrives, there is hope for allergy sufferers, thanks to the recent drought.
"They can get congested, runny nose, itchy eyes; some of them have asthma, and they can't breathe," said Dr. Victor Estrada, an allergist in San Antonio, describing his patients who suffer from Cedar Fever.
The symptoms are felt by many across south Texas during the winter months as Mountain Cedar season ramps up.
It keeps allergists like Estrada busy from December through February. Estrada has already started to prepare his patients for the upcoming season by prescribing nose sprays, anti-histamines, and in some cases, shots.
Predicting the severity of the season can be difficult, according to Estrada, but it is the recent drought that may provide good news for this Mountain Cedar season.
"If you go out towards the Hill Country, especially out Interstate 10, you'll notice that some of the cedars are dying," said Estrada.
The drought has killed off many of the male Mountain Cedar trees.
According to Estrada, the male trees are the ones that pollinate and are responsible for the Cedar Fever. For this reason, Estrada is optimistic for this season.
"I don't think it's going to be as bad as years past," he said.
Estrada cautioned, though, that there will still be a Mountain Cedar season and if some of the trees do not completely die, they can give off even more pollen during stressed conditions.
Meanwhile, research continues in an effort to find better ways to fight Mountain Cedar allergies.
"They're looking at different ways to do allergy shots where they can get you more protection, more immunity, but less chance of having an allergic reaction to the shot," said Estrada.