Allergens never take a holiday

Dec. 24, 2012 at 1:47 AM

CHICAGO, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- During the winter, many parents say their children get a reprieve from allergies, but allergens are around all year long, a U.S. pediatric allergist says.

"Dust mites, mold, food and pet allergies don't take a Christmas vacation," Dr. Joyce Rabbat of Loyola University Health System near Chicago, said in a statement. "Parents need to understand that no matter how hard someone tries to keep the festivities allergen-free there is always a possibility of exposure so come prepared with medications."

She suggests adults seek medical attention if they notice a child has any of these symptoms:

-- Shortness of breath.

-- Wheezing.

-- Swelling.

-- Throat swelling/closing.

-- Coughing.

-- Dizziness.

-- Change of color, pale or blue.

-- Vomiting or diarrhea.

Live Christmas trees, holiday plants, dust and mold from old decorations and even pets can cause an allergic reaction. But one of the often-overlooked triggers are scented candles and air fresheners.

"Stay away from artificial scents in air fresheners and candles as these can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms," Rabbet said. "They might smell nice, but don't smell nearly as good as cookies baking in the oven. So enjoy the real scents of the holidays instead."

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