Ask a Doctor: Can I be allergic to Christmas?

Medical doctor with a stethoscope around his neck holding

Q: Can I be allergic to Christmas?

A: Many allergic patients may think they are safe from allergy symptoms during the winter; however, this isn't always the case. One culprit could be your beautiful Christmas tree. Many trees are cut from miles away, put into containers and shipped to our area. During this process, many trees develop significant mold growth and, when brought into your house, can flare symptoms for those who are mold-sensitive. In addition, many trees have fairly strong scents that could cause symptoms to occur. All of this can be compounded when pulling out dusty and potentially moldy decorations, strongly scented candles and spicy foods. For these reasons, many have the impression that they are allergic to the holidays. As a separate issue, for those who have a dust mite, pet, mold or other indoor allergy, since cold weather keeps us indoors more, they may find their symptoms are exacerbated simply because their exposure is increased.

- Dr. Curt Chaffin, Allergy & Asthma Group of Galen; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

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