Holiday Allergies

By Heather Legg

The holidays have fast approached and with them come a whole slew of allergy aggravators, from trees, to candles, to food. Here are some tips for staying allergy free throughout the season.

• Stay away from scented candles. The scents contain perfumes and fragrance which can aggravate allergies. As a good holiday host, you may want to forego the candles, too, as they can bother your guests. It’s fine to use unscented candles for ambiance, but be sure to trim the wick to cut down on soot, which can aggravate allergies. Also some people prefer soy candles because they emit less soot.
• Christmas trees can harbor mold. It’s not pollen from Christmas trees that bothers allergy sufferers, it’s the mold. Some trees are cut and then sit, mold can grow on them especially if they are damp. If you want a live tree, go for the freshest you can find and hose it down and let it sun dry before bringing it in. Fake trees are an option, but depending on where you store them, they can still be carriers of mold. When you store them, keep them in a dry place and bag to help prevent dust and mold from staying on them. Same with your wreaths and other greenery, fresh is fine for outdoors, but it will dry out inside and can carry the aforementioned mold. Fake used year after year can catch dust and mold as well. It’s a good idea to replace your fake trees and greenery every few years.
• Food – with all the parties and events that take place over the holidays, you are bound to encounter your food allergens somewhere. Stay vigilant. If you’re not sure, ask. You may choose to eat before a party, especially if it’s a buffet or cocktail party. Be honest with your hosts and let them know of any allergies. I have a cookie swap to go to a in a couple of weeks, and I will just ask about nuts and not take any made with nuts. If you have an event like this one, you may want to remind your host to mention allergies to the guests, maybe provide some extra allergen free items.
• Remember alcohol can cause you to be less vigilant of foods and allergens, so keep your imbibing in check, too.

Most of all, stay safe, and enjoy the season!

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