Trees, dust, nuts, mold trigger allergies

Dec. 14, 2011 at 11:20 PM
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MELROSE PARK, Ill., Dec. 14 (UPI) -- It may be a wonderful time of year but fresh Christmas trees, plants, air fresheners, perfumes, dust and nuts can spell misery for many, a U.S. researcher says.

"The dust from the boxes and on the decorations that have been packed away in dank basements or dusty attics is triggering reactions in my allergy and asthma patients," said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, who provides the official allergy count for the Midwest.

For those suffering allergies, Leija suggests:

-- The clean fragrance from fresh balsam, fir and pine trees available on every corner tree lot is pleasing but it aggravates respiratory conditions. Dust, mites and other pollutants on the live tree wreak havoc on nasal passages and airways, and water in a tree holder can grow stagnant and collect mold, which is detrimental to those with allergies.

-- Never use scented candles or home fragrance oils 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.

-- Avoid real Poinsettias and fresh floral arrangements. The moist soil encourages the growth of mold.

-- Keep the humidity in check. Get a gauge and keep the humidity no higher than 48 percent to 50 percent. Too much humidity encourages the growth of mold, which triggers allergic reactions.

-- Store holiday decorations in large resealable plastic tubs that keep out dust.

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