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The holiday spirit can trigger allergic reactions to live trees and poinsettias, nut brittles, scented candles, dusty decoration boxes and even Santa’s fur-trimmed suit.
Allergy and asthma sufferers can breathe easier this holiday season by following some tips from a national allergy bureau doctor.
Getting out the boxes of holiday decorations from years gone by is a time-honored tradition. But in addition to stirring up memories, it also stirs up allergies.
“The dust from the boxes and on the decorations that have been packed away in dank basements or dusty attics triggers reactions in my allergy and asthma patients,” said Joseph Leija, MD, allergist at Loyola University’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
Popular seasonal items such as fresh trees, scented air fresheners, live plants and more make the holidays miserable for many.
Here are Dr. Leija’s tips for easier breathing this holiday season:
1. Use an artificial tree: The clean fragrance from the balsam, fir and pine trees available is pleasing, yet also aggravates respiratory conditions. Dust, mites and other pollutants on the live tree wreak havoc on your airways and nasal passages. “The water in the tree holder also grows stagnant and collects mold, which is detrimental to those with allergies,” added Dr. Leija.
2. Never use scented candles or home fragrance oils: “Far from creating an inviting home, the fragrance aggravates the sinuses and respiratory system so sufferers can’t breathe,” said Dr. Leija.
3. Avoid real poinsettias and fresh floral arrangements: “The moist soil encourages the growth of mold,” said Dr. Leija.
4. Keep humidity in check: “Get a gauge and keep the humidity no higher than 48 percent to 50 percent,” said Dr. Leija. “Too much humidity encourages the growth of mold, which triggers allergic reactions.”