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Are allergens in your home for the holidays? Tis’ the season for may holiday allergens that can trigger or irritate allergies, from your Christmas tree, holiday scents, from food and pets, to wood-burning fires and seasonal greenery. While you may manage allergy symptoms pretty well most of the year, symptoms to indoor allergens like these can really spike during the holiday season. Where are these allergens coming from? Here’s a short list:
Christmas Tree Allergies:
Once you bring that fresh smelling pine tree indoors during the holidays your allergies and asthma may get worse. People for years have suspected that along with that fresh pine scent, an indoor freshly-cut Christmas tree worsened allergy symptoms, but the reason wasn't completely clear. The problem is likely due as a result of high levels of mold in the trees. Researchers at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, found that a room containing a fresh Christmas tree for two weeks had mold levels that were five times the normal level. Other studies have shown that levels this high can cause allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms, says the study's coauthor, allergist and immunologist Philip Hemmers. If someone in the house is allergic to mold, though, you may want to stick with a clean artificial tree or keep the fresh one for no more than a week to minimize the spores produced indoors. Christmas trees, as you will have surmised, are compromised because their roots have been cut off. That leaves only the raw trunk to draw water. When you place the trunk of your Christmas tree in your water-filled stand, bacteria form and quickly clog the xylem.
The tree can no longer get the moisture it needs to stay fresh, no matter how much water you provide. Consider changing the tree water regularly by sucking out the stale water and replacing it with new minimizing bacterial growth in the tree water. Also many trees grown on commercial tree lots are pesticide/herbicide treated before cutting and some are treated with a dye to retain color. You may want to opt for an organic tree.
Holiday Scent or Fragrance Allergies:
Scent sells. Not only are there definitely more fragranced products in the world, the fragrances themselves are also more complex. And for many people, repeated exposures can bring about a array of allergy symptoms which can range from classic "allergic" reactions, such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes; to headaches, inability to concentrate, dizziness to respiratory issues, such as breathing difficulties and wheezing; to skin reactions, such as itching, and hives.
It's invisible to the naked eye, it floats in the air like pollen, and your exposure to it may increase during the holidays because mold spores love damp evergreens like the wreaths, boughs, and trees we bring inside this time of year. The mold and mildew in decaying leaves only adds to the irritation as we track them inside on shoes and clothes.
According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAF) six (6) out of 10 people in the United States come in contact with cats or dogs. The total pet population is more than 100 million, or about four pets for every 10 people.
Allergies to pets with fur or feathers are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. From 15 percent to 30 percent of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.
Pets probably enjoy the seasonal socializing as much as you do. That's one reason symptoms to pet allergies can worsen around the holidays; pets are indoors more, both at your house and in the homes of friends and family.
Dust Mite Allergies:
These microscopic allergens are a perennial allergy irritant and they can be even more aggravating around the holidays when the air gets damp and we spend time in hotel rooms and in other people's beds.
For additional information on identifying the Home for the Holidays Allergens you can contact Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Director, EDLab, Pure Air Control Services 1-800-422-7873 ext 303 or visit the web site at www.pureaircontrols.com.
by S. C.
21 december 2012, Food & Fun > Health