Four unexpected holiday allergy triggers

You've finally put up your holiday decorations,so why are you suddenly dealing with holiday allergies, through sneezing and sniffling? While we mainly associate allergies with spring and summer, allergic reactions can actually appear at any time of year. Allergic reactions can occur with specific conditions and triggers present.

So, where do those holiday allergic symptoms comefrom? Often, they come from places we would least expect.

Here are the most common allergy triggers that may pop upthis December at home or away:

Holiday Decorations

While you may not be allergic to natural trees, many of these trees come to your home packed with moisture and mold spores. These mold sporescan trigger allergic symptoms. Additionally, decorations stored year-round may containdust mites, mold and other allergens. The best options for allergy sufferers include artificial trees that only require seasonal cleaning, as well as storing decorationsin dry places to prevent themold buildup.

Candles

Candles are holiday staples and can fill a home with a festive glow.But, sadlyfor individuals with allergies and asthma, they can be an unexpected trigger. Scented candles, air fresheners and other artificial fragrances can carry a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, limonene, esters and alcohols. These substances could even lead to asthma attacks, respiratory inflammation, headaches and dizziness for some. If you do use them this holiday season, control air flow by opening windows and using them in moderation.

Pet Dander

If you'retraveling this holiday season to a friend or relative's home who has a pet, prepare ahead if you have an allergy. Wash your hands frequently, and ask your hosts to keep the pet(s) out of your sleeping space, and ensure that this area is as clean as possible when you arrive. Additionally, taking an antihistamine throughout your trip can fight the body's immune response to allergens and lessen your symptoms.

Poinsettias

While some people are allergic to the pollen that these holiday flowers contain, they have a much larger risk for individuals with latex allergies. Poinsettias contain a chemical compound similar to what is found in rubber latex, which can cause severe allergic reactions such as skin rashes and wheezing, as well as chest pain and drops in blood pressure in severe cases. If you're decorating with poinsettias this year, be sure to check with your guests about potential latex allergies for their own safety.

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