If you suffer from allergies, here are the top five tips for easier breathing this holiday season from Joseph Leija, MD, allergist at Loyola University’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital near Chicago.
1. Use an Artificial Tree: The clean fragrance from the balsam, fir and pine trees available on every corner tree lot is pleasing, yet also aggravates respiratory conditions. Not only is the scent a problem, but the dust, mites and other pollutants on the live tree wreak havoc on your airways and nasal passages. “The water in the tree holder also grows stagnant and collects mold, which is detrimental to those with allergies,” added Dr. Leija.
2. Never Use Scented Candles or Home Fragrance Oils: The popularity of home fragrance products and scented specialty candles reaches its pinnacle during the holidays — and so do allergies. Unplug the electric scent distributors and take a pass on the potpourri simmering pots. “Far from creating an inviting home, the fragrance aggravates the sinuses and respiratory system so sufferers can’t breathe,” said Dr. Leija.
3. Avoid Real Poinsettias and Fresh Floral Arrangements: “The moist soil encourages the growth of mold. And if there is mold in your house, you are breathing mold spores,” said Dr. Leija. This causes the passageways to swell and restrict airflow, and can even causes skin rashes.
4. Keep the Humidity In Check: Warm and cool air humidifiers are up and running in many homes now that the cold, dry air is here. “Get a gauge and keep the humidity no higher than 48 percent to 50 percent,” said Dr. Leija. “Too much humidity encourages the growth of mold, which triggers allergic reactions.”
5. Store Holiday Decorations in Large Plastic Tubs: Save yourself some sneezes next year by purchasing large resealable plastic tubs for storage of decorations. Keep them dusted during the year to avoid build up.
©2012 King Features Synd.