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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Local doctor says allergies can be set off by inhaling irritants from your environment

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• Though many people suffer from allergies year-round, the holiday season can be especially triggering.

• Christmas trees, wreaths, and other decorations can collect mold and dust.

• The scent of pine from a fresh tree can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms.

Dr. Anthony Sanders of Indianapolis Sinus Center explained how environmental irritants can trigger allergy symptoms in an interview with Anderson Reporter.

"Allergies are a form of nasal inflammation caused by environmental things that you inhale that trigger the allergic response, so it can cause problems with nasal inflammation, swelling drainage, and symptoms that sometimes are somewhat similar to chronic sinus (infections)," Sanders said. "In addition, people who have poorly controlled allergies tend to get nasal swelling."

WebMD reports that more than 40 million Americans experience allergies year-round, and the winter months can be especially triggering for allergy symptoms. Seasonal decorations, such as evergreen trees and wreaths, can attract mold, which is a major allergy trigger. While artificial decorations can be a good substitute, they should be stored in dry containers and areas to avoid the spread of mold common in damp spaces. Both natural and artificial decorations can attract dust, which triggers allergy and asthma symptoms as well.

According to GoodRx, the pine scent common in Christmas trees and other decorations can set off allergy and asthma symptoms. Pine tree sap contains a chemical called terpene, which irritates the eyes, skin, and nose. Flocking, or fake snow, often used to decorate trees, can be an allergy and asthma trigger as well.

Allergies can also be caused by droppings from pests such as mice, cockroaches, and spiders. These animals prefer to live in dark, damp areas, such as basements and garages, and they tend to hide in decoration bins because they aren't frequently moved.

If you'd like more information on allergy testing and treatment options, take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz.

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