‘When in doubt, get tested’: Mountain cedar season coincides with latest COVID-19 surge

The timing couldn’t be worse. COVID-19 cases are surging in the middle of mountain cedar season, causing doubts for some who may have seasonal allergies.

“We’ve been extremely busy these last couple of weeks,” said Dr. Erika Gonzalez, founder, president and CEO, of South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals (STAAMP).

Gonzalez said December and January have historically always been busy with mountain cedar in the air.

But with the omicron variant taking hold in Bexar County, Gonzalez said, “It mimics so many of the symptoms of allergies that we’re also seeing those people with concerns coming in.”

She said, thankfully, the majority of patients so far have been suffering from allergies.

“They have a history of previously not doing well during the cedar season,” Gonzalez said.

However, she said her office had seen increased COVID-positive cases in the past week.

Gonzalez said it’s probably allergies if someone has a history of allergies, such as cedar fever, and the antihistamines and nasal sprays are working. Also, she said an itchy nose and throat aren’t usually the result of an infection.

Gonzalez said allergies also could cause low-grade fevers, no higher than 100.4 degrees. She urges anyone with a higher fever to get checked out by their physician.

“It’s very important to try to reassure patients that even though COVID is increasing, there’s other things that are going to mimic those symptoms,” Gonzalez said.

“We just have to be vigilant,” she continued. “When in doubt, get tested.”


KSAT Weather Pollen Count

KSAT Q&A: How to tell the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies