It’s end of the year, it’s Christmas time and there are actually quite a few things about Christmas that can really spoil the season fun. Apart from visiting others’ homes (pet, mold, dust mites), eating foods that you don’t normally eat (or never eaten before), there’s the Christmas tree that can cause quite a few allergic symptoms.
This Christmas special looks at some of these ‘Christmas Allergy Suspects‘:
Christmas allergy suspect #1: Christmas tree
Allergic contact dermatitis – reaction to colophony, also known as rosin, is the sap or sticky substance that comes from pine and spruce trees.
Allergic rhinitis – reaction to alternaria mould
Main trees are scotch pine (allergic conditions likely due to mold Penicillium spinulosum), followed by spruce tree (due to mold Epicoccum and Alternaria). Hose down the tree outdoors and handle with gloves to reduce the mold spores.
Even artificial christmas trees can cause a reaction as they have been stored and accumulated dust mites and molds in the basement.
Christmas allergy suspect #2: Poinsettia
Cross-reactivity with latex allergy observed in a case study
Christmas allergy suspect #3: Christmas cactus
Contact urticaria and rhinoconjunctivitis (of workers at a cactus nursery)
Christmas allergy suspect #4: Christmas candy
Asthma (of a candy maker) after exposure to pectin, a compound in Christmas candy
Christmas allergy suspect #5: Food, Cocktails
Common allergens are milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat. Ask before you eat or inform the host. If you’re hosting, take care to avoid these allergens or avoid them in some of the dishes and not re-use the utensils without washing.
Allergens in cocktails include sulfites in wine, maraschino cherries, and tree nuts in beer.
Christmas allergy suspect #6: Pets
If you’re allergic to pet dander, it’d be best to check out if the home you’re visiting has pets. The concentration of pet dander allergens are usually higher during Christmas, due to more time spent indoors.
Christmas allergy suspect #7: Dust mite
Though dust mites are present all year round, it is worse during the holidays as we spent more time in our bed with the cold weather.
Christmas suspect #8: Artifical snow or Frosting
Asthma can be triggered when spraying artificial snow or any chemical spray (say on frosted window) can irritate the eyes, nose, lungs and skin.
Christmas suspect #9: Stress
Stress is a known trigger for eczema and asthma – go easy on shopping and visiting schedules.
Christmas suspect #10: Candles, air fresheners, potpourri
It may add an extra touch to your home for the holiday season but these give off compounds that irritate the nose and throat.
Enjoy Christmas, and remember it is the time for celebrating Christ’s birth and his love for us.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.