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Christmas Allergies

Christmas Allergies and how to control them.

Posted on: December 2, 2019 by Marlene

Are you keeping your Allergies under control during the Christmas Holidays? The Devon Allergy Clinic has some helpful tips?

Pass the tissues and antihistamine please it is the season for holiday allergies. Like unwanted gifts, sneezing and congestion arrive, making allergy sufferers miserable and whether its symptoms to food, pets, mould or house dust mites. Allergies during the holidays can be reduced with lifestyle changes, medication, and a few simple tips.

Allergies spike during the winter holidays. Why? Blame our tendency to snuggle in when the weather cools. The Danes call this Huggar. Closed up homes, the heater on, the windows shut that’s why indoor allergies get worse in the winter,

You can do a lot to alleviate these holiday allergies but first you need to know what’s triggering your symptoms to begin with.

Lots of holiday favourites can be triggers from food and pets to wood-burning fires, decorations and Christmas greenery.

Food.
Christmas can mean lots of entertaining at home and out with friends away from home, plenty of seasonal foods, and an abundance of parties all of which heighten the chances you’ll accidentally eat, or be outright tempted by foods you’re allergic to. That may be milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy, or wheat – eight foods that account for 90% of all food allergy reactions. Remember it is not just eating them but touching and breathing them in can cause reactions .

Tips to prevent Christmas Allergies.

First, know yourself. Before you can manage Christmas allergies to food, you must know what foods you’re sensitive to.

Then communicate. Once you know what you’re allergic to, you need to talk about it especially during this season of celebration. That’s because the first and best treatment for holiday food allergies is to avoid what you’re allergic to. At seasonal gatherings with friends and family, tell them about your food allergies, ask about ingredients in meals and desserts, and ask for their support so you can avoid the foods you’re allergic to.

Mould

It is invisible to the naked eye, it floats in the air like pollen, and your exposure to it may increase during the holidays because mould spores love damp evergreens like the wreaths, boughs, and trees we bring inside this time of year. The mould and mildew in decaying leaves only adds to the irritation as we track them inside on shoes and clothes.

Tips to prevent Christmas Allergies

Christmas trees and wreaths. While many people think it’s the tree or other seasonal greens causing their holiday allergies, it’s actually the mould spores on these plants. If mould is your nemesis, you may want to steer clear of fresh trees, boughs, and wreaths, and consider switching to artificial decorations. Or, to make live greenery less inclined to trigger allergies during the holidays, try hosing plants down before bringing them inside, to get rid of existing spores. Make sure your logs are dry before bring them in the house.

Artificial holiday decorations. While fake greenery can indeed help reduce allergy symptoms, it can also get damp and grow mould, as well as accumulate dust. To help keep holiday allergies to these under control, Store artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, and other decorations in plastic as cardboard becomes damp and mouldy.

Which is better “real” or “artificial” is one of those questions that the answer is a resounding:“that depends.”

If you want a quick clue as to how complicated the issue is, you need to know more about the first artificial tree. In the 1930’s, the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial-brush trees using the same machinery as they used to make toilet brushes. The Addis ‘Silver Pine’ tree was actually patented in 1950. Artificial Christmas trees and all tree lights have been subject to warnings about lead. Lead is added to PVC during manufacture to make the plastic more pliable when hanging strings of light or adjusting tree limbs. That lead is a soft material will easily fall from the products containing it when they are handled Lead is a serious health hazard, particularly to children The process of manufacturing the PVC creates the toxic chemical dioxin, which is also released if the plastic is burned during disposal.

Given a choice, it is better to place trees and decorations over areas of hard surface floors as opposed to carpet. These floors are easier to clean and hold fewer allergens.

Pets.
Your 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.

Tips to prevent

At home. You don’t want to banish Fido out in the cold during the holidays, so reduce pet allergies by washing your hands and face frequently, keeping floors swept, and carpets vacuumed. While you can bathe pets to reduce dander, that’s effective for only a few days. Keeping yourself scrubbed is a lot easier, more beneficial — and keeps the peace with your pets!

On the road. The protein in pet dander that causes allergic reactions is so light it can be carried in the air or on clothes and hair — which explains why you’ll find dander in unlikely places like schools, workplaces, and pet-free homes. The best way to prepare yourself for pet allergies when away is to take allergy medications before visiting homes that have pets.

Dust mites.
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.
Tips to control
At home. Dust mites are well-known allergy and asthma triggers. When you’re at home, keep symptoms in check by changing air filters frequently, washing bedding at 60 degrees weekly and buying allergen-resistant covers for pillows and mattress . As dust mites thrive in high humidity, think about using a humidifier/dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity between 30% and 50%.

When travelling, it’s a good idea to take along your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover, or to request a down-free pillow if staying in a hotel or with friends.

Cuddly toys.

Place in a plastic bag and pop in the freezer for 24 hours.

No matter how careful you are, you can still be exposed to holiday allergens and irritants. That’s why it’s important to carry your allergy medications with you, whether it’s an antihistamine, inhaler, or Auto injector . Making sure you have 2 and they are both in date
We want our homes to smell like Christmas. Many of those “plug in” scents contain synthetic esters and formaldehyde. It is know that asthmatics are clearly sensitive to odours and fumes; therefore it would not be unexpected that air fresheners could trigger asthmatic episodes.” Bake a cake or mince pies or use potpourri as an alternative to the artificial scents. The use of a quality air cleaner such as a HEPA filter can provide immediate indoor air improvement by removing the circulating allergens.

Steer Clear of Stress to reduce Christmas allergies

A big ask at Christmas

It’s well known that stress can cause asthma to flare, but it may not do your allergies any good either. It is important to recognise the effects stress, anxiety, and other high emotions can have on your immunity. One of the best ways to bolster your immune system so that it can more easily fend off allergy symptoms is to do yoga, meditation, or message therapy. Think of these as holiday gifts to yourself, ones that give all year.

The Devon Allergy and Digestive Health Clinic wish you an allergy free Christmas


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