Health Watch: Holidays can trigger allergy attacks

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

You don't want to be a Scrooge, but every year at the holidays, you wonder why your seasonal allergies are still bothering you. Why are you sneezing, wheezing and coughing while everyone else is caroling, sleighing and making snowmen?

“There’s a certain pressure around the holidays to be at your best,” says allergist Dr. Bryan Martin, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “The problem is many people who suffer from allergies and asthma don’t realize the holidays and winter weather bring hidden triggers.”

You may not want to admit it, but holiday celebrations may cause you stress, and a recent study showed that allergy sufferers with persistent stress experience more allergy flares. Stress can create several negative effects on the body, including causing more symptoms for allergy sufferers. So if you have to, walk away from the festivities for a while and read a good book or take a nap!

Many people use candles during the holidays, but scented candles can trigger symptoms in people with allergies and asthma. Wood-burning fireplaces are also a trigger, as well as aerosols, such as air fresheners and artificial snow. Steer clear of potpourri and other scents designed to make your house smell good. They might also cause sneezing and sniffling among your guests.

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Number to Know

65: According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 65 percent of all children with sensitivity to gluten will outgrow it by the time they are 12. Gluten allergy symptoms include hives, nausea, sneezing and headaches.

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Children’s Health

Your kids may love the tradition of “decking the halls,” but before you start, know that many decorations can trigger symptoms. Some people have contact skin allergies to terpene, found in the sap of trees, as well as inhalant allergies to mold spores and pollen brought into the house by fresh trees and greenery. Be aware that if you re-use artificial trees and other decorations from year to year, depending on how you store them, they can accumulate dust and mold. Both are common allergy triggers.

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Senior Health

According to the National Institute on Aging, older people tend to wake up more times throughout the night and sleep less deeply. People who get less sleep may experience depressed moods, and sleepless seniors are more prone to nighttime falls. While sleep patterns change with age, seniors who experience restless, interrupted sleep should see a doctor and get treated.

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New Research

A new study on childhood obesity shows that kids who are obese at a young age often stay that way. Study author Dr. Mark Schuster said parents often thought their children would shed their “baby fat,” 83 percent of overweight 10th-graders were also obese in fifth grade. The study was published Nov. 10 in the online edition of the journal Pediatrics.

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