While San Antonio is still in the midst of an extended ragweed season, allergists are already planning on a stronger-than-normal Mountain Cedar winter and they are testing medications hoping to find relief for sufferers.
Dr. Paul Ratner is leading the charge again the insufferable symptoms, pre-screening now for 200 volunteers to test a new steroid nasal spray, as well as a two-in-one steroid and antihistamine spray.
“People will keep diaries during the trial," Ratner said. "They'll be seen multiple times during that two week period and, of course, when they're finished with the study, they'll be given what they need to get them through the rest of the season.”
He warns that some of the participants will only get placebo during the test, but all the screened volunteers will receive a complete allergy scratch test and medical care during the course of the study.
That will be crucial if the mountain cedar season is as powerful as expected.
"When you get a rainy with a lot of north fronts coming in, you're going to have a better-than-expected Mountain Cedar season,” warned Ratner, who clarifies his statement as “better for allergists," but worse for allergy sufferers.
Mountain Cedar is actually a juniper tree that was brought to South Texas, and is particularly sturdy and drought resistant.
Approximately 25 to 30 percent of all San Antonio residents are allergic to its pollen, which begins to show up in the wintertime.
The phone number to call if you would like to participate is 210-614-6673. 200 volunteers who suspect they are allergic to mountain cedar will be chosen for the studies.