Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Time Allergies

     A common scenario is for us to be asked about allergy symptoms at this time of the year. If someone has watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion during the Christmas season, it is commonly due to the Christmas tree brought into the home. Live Christmas trees naturally have lots of mold on their branches and trunk. Once they are brought inside, the heat allows the mold to multiply and the mold count inside the home goes up quickly. For those many people who are allergic to mold, this means they are regularly blasted with mold during the time the Christmas tree is in the house. Luckily, the symptoms should get better quickly once the tree is removed from the house at the end of the Christmas season.
     If you suspect this is happening to someone in your home, there are a few options. We as a family have had to replace a live tree with an artificial tree. There are multiple members of my family with mold allergies (including me!), and we had too many allergy symptoms each year to make a live tree an option. Many people will be helped by taking an allergy medicine (Claritin(r), Zyrtec(r), and Allegra(r) are all commonly recommended antihistamines available over the counter), such that their symptoms will be so mild that they are not miserable.