Allergies during the Christmas break
Christmas means allergies for many people, whether it is dusty decorations coming down from the loft, or an allergic reaction to Christmas trees.
Whether the festive allergy symptoms come from food, pets, mould or mildew, there are ways to help prevent Christmas allergy triggers.
Why allergies increase during the Christmas break
Lots of seasonal favourites can trigger or irritate allergies, from food and pets to wood-burning fires and seasonal greenery.
While you may manage allergy symptoms fairly well for most of the year, symptoms due to indoor allergens such as these can really increase during the Christmas season, and so can your exposure to these allergens when windows and doors remain closed.
You can do a lot to alleviate seasonal allergies. The first step is to work out what's triggering the symptoms.
What's behind Christmas break allergies?
Possible Christmas allergy triggers and solutions include:
Winter celebrations such as Christmas mean lots of eating away from home, plenty of seasonal foods and an abundance of parties, all of which increase the chances you'll accidentally eat, or be tempted by, foods you're allergic to.
If you've been diagnosed with a food allergy make sure hosts and restaurants know about it so they can offer you alternatives and cook safely. You may feel like a party pooper to ask when you get an invitation, but your hosts would rather know in advance so they can prepare dishes that are suitable for you and avoid you becoming ill.
Mould spores cannot be seen but are more common indoors in the air during the Christmas season. Mould spores can be found around festive wreaths and real Christmas trees, sometimes called Christmas tree syndrome. Mould can also be brought in from outside on shoes and clothes.
Consider artificial trees and wreaths as an alternative, but still be careful when these come down from the loft or out of a shed or garage, as fake trees and decorations may still be dusty or carry some traces of mould depending on where they are kept. Consider investing in good quality dry air tight storage containers.
Your pets probably enjoy the seasonal socialising as much as you do. That's one reason symptoms from pet allergies can worsen around the holidays; pets spend more time indoors, both at your house and in the homes of friends and family.
Pets may be indoors more in the winter weather, but reduce your exposure by limiting their access to certain rooms, such as banning them from bedrooms. It may help to ramp up the housework at this time of year with extra vacuuming and damp dusting.
If you are visiting friends and relatives, check if they have pets and take precautions, such as remembering to pack allergy medication. Ask if the pets can be kept out of the guest room you'll be using.