Just as the song says, “Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The season is full of bright lights, excited children and time with friends and relatives.
We love the sounds and smells of the holiday season as they bring back memories of past holidays. That is unless………. the smells are not fond memories, but more like: Merry Christmas and please pass the antihistamine or inhaler---‘tis the season for asthma and allergies.
Too soon the excitement of this Christmas will be over and we will be packing and tucking away all of those special decorations and treasures to wait for another year. How we do that packing and where we store those treasures can affect our health next year.
Why Allergies and Asthma Spike During HolidaysClick here to Download a copy of Bringing A Fresh Air to Christmas.pdf
Stored holiday items can be a source of mold growth. Fiberglass and other insulation particles, dust and mold from storage areas and other allergens can get on and into improperly stored items. Even tightly sealed boxes can attract mice and insects, each contributing to the allergen and germ categories.
There has been an increase in the number of people affected with asthma and allergies spiking during the holidays. Obviously, Christmas comes at a time of year when homes are most likely to be closed up to protect from winter weather. Adding to that factor, we have tighter constructed homes with better windows, caulking and insulation resulting in less fresh air. Many homes are built with wet crawl spaces and improper venting systems. With tighter construction practices, attic and basement storage areas are often full of mold.
Fortunately, the suffering from Christmas allergies can be avoided with a few tips on proper storage and care of holiday trees and decorations.
Storage and Allergen Prevention Tips
Tips for Taking Out Decorations Next Year
“Things happen” in the life of a house. When we change windows, furnaces, add insulation or have leaks from roofs, plumbing, floods and a host of other “events” mold can occur where it never was found before. It may seem a little early for us to consider what to do when we pull things out of storage next year...but…while we are on the subject…here are a few tips:
Other Healthy Indoor Air Tips
Given a choice, it is better to place trees and decorations over areas of hard surface floors as opposed to carpet. These floors are easier to clean and hold fewer allergens.
The use of a quality air cleaner such as a HEPA filter can provide immediate indoor air improvement by removing the circulating allergens. Sweeping with HEPA filter vacuum sweepers as opposed to bag sweepers and using Swiffer type mops are better than bristle brooms for avoiding putting allergens into the air.
We want our homes to smell like Christmas. Many of those “plug in” scents contain synthetic esters and formaldehyde. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that: “We know that asthmatics are clearly sensitive to odors and fumes; therefore, it would not be unexpected that air fresheners could trigger asthmatic episodes.” Bake a pie or use potpourri in a warming pot as an alternative to the artificial scents.
A healthy home is a wonderful gift. With a little planning and prevention, we can take a deep breath and enjoy the season.