4 Holiday Traditions that Can Trigger Your Allergies

'Tis the season to be jolly. But if you suffer from allergies, this joyful season may bring many health challenges. Beware of these four common activities that can spark your allergy symptoms.

Common Holiday Allergy Triggers

  1. Decorating the Christmas tree. You love the look and smell of a live Christmas tree, but having it in your home may cause you to sneeze. It's usually not the tree itself that sparks your allergy symptoms, but rather the mold that collects on the trunk. To minimize the problem, wipe down the bark with a mixture of warm water and bleach. Also shake the tree outside and leave it in your garage, with the base in a bucket of water, to dry out before bringing it inside. And, to avoid dust, keep your ornaments in sealed containers until you hang them.

  2. Roasting chestnuts in front of the fire. A fire can compromise your indoor air quality and spark allergies and asthma-related symptoms. Have your chimney cleaned regularly and check that the fireplace vents work correctly. If you have doors on your fireplace, keep them closed to minimize your exposure to embers and smoke. Just be aware that your firewood collects mold, so keep the logs outside until you're ready to use them. And if you have nut allergies toast marshmallows or sip hot chocolate instead of eating chestnuts.

  3. Going for a sleigh ride.  It's not only indoor allergy triggers that you need to wary of during the holiday season. Outdoor areas with wet leaves and dirt can be a breeding ground for mold. If you decide to enjoy a sleigh ride, be sure to steer your sleigh away from areas where you see these common seasonal triggers. And o avoid breathing in cold air, wear a scarf or facemask that covers your nose and mouth.. Many people with allergies also experience cold-induced asthma, so you'll need to take extra care when the temperature drops.

  4. Eating, drinking, and being merry. If you plan to attend any seasonal gatherings, bring your own allergy-free snacks.  When dining in a restaurant, always check the menu in advance and ask lots of questions. Also, remember that drinks like wine and beer can contain sulfites and other allergens, including histamines. The best way to protect yourself wherever you go is to carry an EpiPen just in case you have a reaction.




"Allergy and Asthma During the Holidays." Allergy: Lifestyle Management. National Jewish Health. National Jewish Health, March 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2010.

"Holiday Allergies." Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. AAFA, 2005. Web. 16 Oct. 2010.

 "Topic of the Month - November - Coping With Allergies and Asthma During the Holidays." American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. AAAAI, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 16 Oct. 2010.