Webb Report: How not to die from cedar fever, according to readers


Learn everything you can about your enemy, so that you might destroy it.

Cedar season begins in mid-December and typically ends by March, and Austin recently saw its the highest levels of Ashe juniper pollen so far this winter. That’s all well and good for nature, but for your poor sinuses, it’s a death sentence once the wind knocks all that pollen out of the trees and into the world. Sneezing, watery and itchy eyes: You know the drill. A drill, coincidentally, is a good way to describe the feeling of what’s invading your skull.

You’ve probably heard the usual tips for keeping cedar fever in check — antihistamines, don’t forget to take showers, stay inside if you can help it — but perhaps there’s a better way. We asked readers on Facebook to share their own remedies, and they had some creative approaches to fighting back against the yellow scourge of Central Texas.

  • Samuel Velez’s solution is to consume the power of his opponent. “Eat the raw cedar berries in increments and you’ll be cured forever,” he writes. Eat one berry the first day, two berries the second day and so on until the seventh day. After that do it all backwards. The berries should be swallowed like a pill, he notes.
  • Elizabeth Abadie Green is a fan of Texas Knows Allergy Relief drops, and NeilMed Sinus Rinse (“in the shower,” she notes) and “tea with local honey.” That honey tip was echoed by several readers and is a common home remedy.
  • Jenny Hill is into the BioAllers Tree Pollen homeopathic treatment for allergies, which she says is available at Central Market or Peoples Rx. “Before I found it, cedar pollen used to make me so miserable I thought I might have to move out of Texas,” Hill says.
  • Other store-bought remedies that seem to save our readers include Cedar X drops on the wrist (recommended by Kathyann Thompson Adams), Herbalogic Easy Breather and TexaClear.
  • Not exactly an easy fix, but Todd Wulfmeyer recommends “healthy gut flora, no sugar, an immune system at peak function due to nutrition, sun exposure and exercise.”
  • “Allergy shots!” Laura Villanueva says. “Best decision I’ve made in my life.”
  • When in doubt, flush it out. Brenda J. Culver recommends a Neti Pot, with a “gallon of sterile water and sinus wash packets.”
  • If you still want to go the pharmaceutical route, many readers say they rely on ol’ faithfuls like Zyrtec, Claritin-D and Flonase.

Alas, if none of those elixirs or rituals bring you relief from cedar fever, you can always laugh through the tears. Perhaps follow the lead of Carlos Moreno, who says you should try tequila and “moving out of Austin.” And this one might not be the environmentally friendly (or legal) option, but Mark Whitehead has a point: a “chainsaw and a bonfire” would definitely cut to the chase.

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Rolling away

Citing what he calls the “deteriorating situation and terrible neglect by the City of Austin on ‘Dirty Sixth Street,’” the owner of Bobalu Cigar Company announced Tuesday that the store is closing the doors at its original location for good.

“Things are really bad on Sixth Street, and we hung in there much longer than we should have because I NEVER wanted to close it,” Jeff Lipton said in an email statement, adding that he thinks the city doesn’t care about tenants.

Lipton said that though the cigar shop is shutting down its downtown Austin store after more than 20 years, Bobalu will live on at its larger factory location on Burnet Road. The Sixth Street store is set to close in late January.

Lipton also posted a longer statement on Bobalu’s website, in which he said the city has focused on developing Second Street, the Warehouse District, West Sixth Street, Rainey Street and “just about every other area of downtown” while neglecting East Sixth Street businesses.

“Now they should call it ‘Filthy Sixth’ because the area has actually become a very dangerous place riddled with homeless people, crime and waste,” Lipton said. “It’s the last place that anybody from out of town would want to visit.”

The stretch of seven blocks known as “Dirty Sixth” is barricaded and patrolled by about 35 officers on an average Friday night, the American-Statesman reported in June.

Dixie nix

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is dropping the word “Dixie” from its name for its 2018 season, according to a news release from the company that runs the dinner show attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri.

“Our shows currently are identified by where they are located,” Parton said in a statement. “Some examples are Smoky Mountain Adventures or Dixie Stampede. We also recognize that attitudes change and feel that by streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities.”

The show is now called Dolly Parton’s Stampede. The name change comes following public criticism that the long-running Civil War-themed show romanticized the slavery-era South. The website for the dinner show describes the show as “pitting North against South in a friendly and fun rivalry.”

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West is best

If you’re in Austin, you’re about an eight-hour drive away from what Yelp has named the “hottest new restaurant” in Texas.

“El Paso got the number one restaurant in Texas, I’m like ‘What Mexican restaurant is it?’” El Paso Yelp community ambassador Lisa Hernandez told KVIA.

But El Pasoans might be surprised to hear the honor was bestowed to a Vietnamese joint.

Viet Restaurant boasts the title, which was “based on a formula that takes into account the number of reviews and star ratings” awarded to a restaurant whose Yelp account was created during 2017. Viet offers a spread of traditional Vietnamese dishes and has five out of five stars on Yelp, with 86 reviews.

Grammy-nominated singer Khalid, and now this? What trendy new thing will Texas pull out of its western pocket next?

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

We’ll stick with Holiday Inn

Traveling to Austin for South by Southwest and really want to do it big? Well, we’ve found you an Airbnb.

A huge three-house estate in Clarksville is available for all your SXSW needs — oh, and it happens to be the most expensive Airbnb listing in the country, at a cool $10,075 a night.

The listing doesn’t give an exact address for the estate, but it appears to be immediately west of the Austin Community College campus near the corner of North Lamar Boulevard and 15th Street.

The property, aptly named “SXSW Exclusive,” sleeps up to 19 guests in two houses and one guest house, with a large outdoor space, a pool, a hot tub, a gym and some seriously luxurious-looking lounge spaces.

There are rules, though (of course there are): a three-night minimum (that’s more than $30,000, y’all), no bachelor parties, no smoking, no parties and a no cancellation policy. The listing is managed by the Renters Club, which manages at least 85 other luxury short-term rental properties on Airbnb.

— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff



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