Some people, it seems, are allergic to the holidays.
In many parts of the country hospital admissions for asthma tend to peak around year's end. Physicians explain the peak by pointing to the shift in season and end-of-the-year stress. Dr. Jeffrey Miller, an allergist in Danbury, Conn., thinks an increase in allergens also may play a role.His advice:
- Take precautions when retrieving packed seasonal ornaments, which have probably collected dust since last year.
- Anyone allergic to mold should forego a live Christmas tree and avoid stacking firewood indoors. Tree bark often plays host to molds that outlive the trees. Artificial Christmas trees are non-allergenic, according to Miller.
- Smoke from fireplaces and poorly sealed wood stoves often triggers asthma attacks.
- When traveling, protect against dust mites in guest beds or motel rooms by carrying your own dust-proof encasings for mattresses and pillows.