Watch Out for Christmas Related Allergens

PoinsettiaParents of children who have severe allergies are always on the lookout for the things that can make their child have an allergic reaction. The Christmas season brings us all some allergens that we don’t have to worry about at other times of the year. Here’s a few things to watch out for and avoid.

Live Christmas trees
The American Christmas Tree Association has this to say about live Christmas trees:

“…live Christmas trees are known to often carry microscopic mold spores that can trigger allergy symptoms including sneezing, watery eyes, and an itchy nose.”

They point out a study that was done by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in 2007 that found that live Christmas trees can adversely affect indoor air quality. The study was done because there was an increase of asthma and sinus complaints each winter.

Artificial Christmas trees
The American Christmas Tree Association also notes that artificial trees have the potential to cause allergies, too. If your tree was improperly stored, it might have a whole lot of dust on it. Carry the dusty tree into your home, and you have just added a significant amount of allergens to the air indoors. The American Christmas Tree Association also says:

“In addition, some of the materials used to manufacture artificial Christmas trees could cause sinus irritation for those who are especially sensitive.”

Holiday food
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has some advice about food allergies and holiday events. They have the following advice:

“Be sure to ask about the ingredients used to make each dish. Be aware that cross-contamination can occur during preparation.”

They also point out that your child does not have to eat at a holiday gathering if you are unsure about whether or not the foods have ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction. Bring snacks that are safe for your child to eat, or feed your child at home before you attend the party.

An office in Ontario, Canada, has banned poinsettias from their workplace. A worker has an allergy to latex, and poinsettias have sap that has proteins that can irritate people who have latex allergies. Parents may want to have a conversation with their child’s allergist to see if it would be safe for you to have Poinsettias in your home.

Image by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar on Flickr