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Don't Kill Your Holiday Guests

Clamp down on the allergens in your home

BHM Edit Staff | 11/25/2013, 6 a.m.
Eliminate allergens this holiday season.

The holiday season can be difficult for allergy sufferers. Seemingly innocuous decorations such as Christmas trees, poinsettias or scented candles can kick off allergy symptoms or trigger an asthma attack.

If you’re playing host to the family this year, make sure to keep a lid on allergens in your home with this advice.

  • Pine- or peppermint-scented candles and plug-in air fresheners may make your house smell great, but they can be harmful. About one-third of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners, which contain volatile organic compounds.
  • Get a handle on your home’s non-human inhabitants. Pets leave dander, saliva and urine that can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks; dust mites and mold spores can cause coughing, itchy eyes and breathing difficulty. Give your house a thorough cleaning before guests arrive. Vacuum, clean hard surfaces and replace air filters to remove dust and dander. Eliminate visible mold in the bathroom and kitchen (don’t forget the rubber seal on your refrigerator). Keep Fluffy in another room while you have visitors.
  • Some foods and drinks cause allergic reactions, including spices (black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, vanilla) and alcohol. Talk to your guests about any food allergies they may have, and serve sparkling cider or a non-alcoholic punch instead of wine or beer.