Hauling out Christmas paraphernalia can trigger full-blown allergy attacks and may even lead to asthma trouble, as the St. Petersburg Times discusses in Dusty decorations, Christmas trees and cold weather can touch off allergies, asthma.
As Dr. Richard Lockey, director of the division of allergy and immunology at USF Health says, when you bring out those boxes of decorations from the attic or garage, ‘You disturb dust and other debris that hasn't been touched for a year, and it can certainly cause problems.’
Christmas trees, whether they are cut live trees or artificial ones, can also lead to allergies. Live trees bring everything from the outdoors inside so individuals who are allergic to pollen or mold may experience acute allergy attacks when they are around live pines. In addition, some individuals are allergic to a substance called terpene, which is in the sap of evergreens and is released when the trunk or branches are cut.
Artificial trees can be just as bad. Dust and other allergens settle on tiny leaves, making artificial trees that have been sitting in storage uncovered a gigantic allergen magnet. And sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes, and congestion can ruin any good tree decorating party.
So what's the solution? Dusty boxes holding holiday treasures should be taken outdoors and cleaned off before they're brought into the house. Be sure to wear an allergy mask to reduce exposure to allergens as you're cleaning. Trees, live or artificial, may be blown with a leaf blower outside in order to remove accumulated allergens, suggests the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Alternately, trees could be sprayed with a hose before they are brought inside. Be sure dry your tree completely before bringing it inside.
As always, keeping indoor air as allergen-free as possible is essential to keeping allergy and asthma symptoms at bay. Don't inadvertently bring allergens into your home along with the holiday sparkle. Clean off dusty boxes and allergen-laden Christmas trees before enjoying them and stay allergy free this season!