Are you allergic to the holidays?

By: Health Local Staff Dec 16, 2013
  Article
Are you allergic to the holidays?

We've uncovered the top holiday allergy triggers , and ways you can avoid them while still enjoying the season.

The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year. But for some, it’s a time when allergies kick into high hear. Do you feel like your allergies have more holiday spirit than you? Is your nose a real-life homage to Rudolph? If so, read on to find out the top holiday allergy triggers – they might surprise you.

Christmas Trees

Allergy experts agree: Christmas trees are the number one allergy trigger during the holiday season. But the reason why is surprising. For most people, the allergy is not from the Christmas tree itself, it’s the mold that grows on the tree that is the main culprit. Live Christmas trees are cut well in advance and then stored in high humidity areas. The perfect environment for mold to thrive. It typically takes 10-14 days for indoor mold levels to increase to levels that trigger allergies.

Besides buying a fake Christmas tree, what can you do to prevent mold allergies from ruining your holiday cheer? Allergy experts say use a blower on your tree before taking it indoors, followed by a good hose down. These two methods can significantly decrease the mold spores, which may help keep your allergies at bay.

Decorations

You’ve decked the halls and covered your house in lights. Your home is the envy of the neighborhood. But all of a sudden you’re nose is running, your sneezing and your eyes are watering. Why? Think about it – your holiday décor is stuffed away in some remote section of your garage for eleven months out of the year. It’s not that your allergic to your stocking, wreath or ornaments – it’s the dust that accumulated over the past year.

To combat dust, store your decorations in airtight containers. And make sure the space is dry – you don’t want mold to form. And before you hang or hammer anything, give it a good scrub down with warm water and soap or your favorite anti-dust method.

Food Allergies

The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without our favourite foods. Homemade pies, cookies, cakes and other treats are seemingly everywhere. Not only are they bad news for the waistline, they can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies. The most common food allergies are milk, peanuts, wheat and fish. The sneakiest foods that make their way into the foods of unsuspecting eaters are peanuts and tree nuts.

Poinsettia

Poinsettias are part of the rubber tree family (yep there really is such a family of trees.) Oddly enough, people who are allergic to latex are far more susceptible to poinsettia allergies. One particular study revealed that nearly 50% of people allergic to latex were also allergic to poinsettia trees.

So what are you allergic to around the Holidays? (Your in-laws don’t count!)

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.