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Cedars, molds trigger allergies

John HartNina Nooteboom, 4, of Grass Valley gets her allergy shot Wednesday at a clinic on Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

January. Allergies.

Those two things go together in western Nevada County because cedar trees start shedding pollen this time of year and moistness brings out mold.

One good thing about allergies: suffer from them long enough and you might start joking about it.



“I think I’m allergic to five different things. One of ’em is wild oats, which I haven’t sowed in 25 years,” said Al Wegner, a 72-year-old Lake Wildwood resident.

Wegner was in Grass Valley earlier this month for his regular allergy shots, which he has been getting since 1970. On a recent visit, Wegner got one in each arm, an injection that includes cedar tree pollen.




“It’s a little bit of the bug that bothers him,” explained Irene Heath, a registered nurse at the offices of Drs. Garland Stroup, Allan Au and Michael McCormick.

It is the same concept as vaccines made from dead viruses, she said.

Other people rely on over-the-counter allergy treatments this time of year.

One is Claritin, a popular remedy that for years was available only by prescription but recently became available over-the-counter, said Leslie Honey, a pharmacist at Spring Hill Pharmacy.

Some areas test the air for pollen counts. The nearest such test is done in Roseville. But that is not really close enough to be accurate, said Au, a Grass Valley allergist.

Joe Fish, an air pollution control specialist for the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District, which includes Nevada County, said air quality districts do not test for pollen because it is not considered a pollutant.

“Nobody does it around here,” said Fish, adding “I think it would be a valuable service.”

“As scientifically minded staff people, we wouldn’t mind doing it,” Fish said.

Allergy symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, cough, itchy nose, and – for food-type allergies – skin rashes.

You can’t really cure allergies, but you can avoid allergens and take medication and shots. However, if you’re allergic to cedar pollen, unless you wear a mask, it is really hard to avoid.

Some people say they outgrow their allergies. Others say they never suffered from allergies until they were an adult.

Learn more

There1s no 3pollen count² in western Nevada County; the closest counting station is in Roseville. But if you get on the Web site http://www.pollen.com and click on the map of California and type in your Zip code, it purports to show local pollen levels.


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