By: Courtney Harrington
With the winter season finally kicking into gear, families are starting to spend more of their time indoors where it is warmer. Because many people suffer from common allergies throughout the spring and the fall, they see winter as a relief for their throats and noses. However, what some people claim is just a seasonal cold, can actually be more allergies.
During wintertime, it is typical to see colds and the flu going around from person to person, making it easier for someone to simply assume that they too have caught a “bug” that will come and go. It seems to be rare that a person will connect his/her symptoms to allergies. The most common symptoms seen this time of year are a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and dark circles under one’s eyes. What most people are not aware of is that dust, mold and pollen can be the causing factors that trigger such symptoms.
When a person comes in contact with such allergens, the body’s immune system goes into “overdrive.” When this happens, the body releases histamines, a chemical in the body which leads to a person having various symptoms such as a runny nose. When the temperature starts to drop outside, it is natural for a person to switch from running the air conditioning to running heat. However, when such an action takes place, dust, insect parts and mold spores are scattered into the air which can potentially find one’s nose and lead to irritation.
One of the most common allergies seen throughout the holiday season is brought on by live Christmas trees. It can be somewhat common to find those who are allergic to pine trees, making it difficult for him/her to be around real Christmas trees. Also, live trees are likely to be a home for mold which can lead to a reaction. Jessica Argular, a woman allergic to pine trees, has said to have known about her allergies towards pine since she was a little girl which always prevented her family from getting a live Christmas tree during the festive season. She was constantly sneezing and if she touched the tree at all, she would break out into a rash.
Other items found during this time of year that may be linked to allergic reactions can be things such as potpourri and other kinds of artificial fragrances. Kimberly Burton, an Orlando resident, is extremely sensitive to such smells and has to completely change her Christmas shopping schedule. Burton is forced to do all of her Christmas shopping before Christmas decorations start to pop up in every store. “Unfortunately, it makes me dread holiday decorations coming out – and also forces to get much of my shopping done well before the holidays even start,” she explained.
When the holiday season comes to an end this year, take the extra time and care to prevent allergies for the follow Christmas. When packing up the Christmas tree, store it in a large plastic tub to keep the dust particles out. Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful time of the year. With a little precaution, it can be possible for everyone. Maybe it’s having some allergy medicine in the cabinet when needed. Whatever it is, have a Merry Christmas!