Does Christmas leave you itchy, sneezing, tight-chested and dabbing at running eyes?
The festive season can leave people open to allergic or asthmatic tiggers, here’s what to look out for.
Oh Christmas Tree…
Hayfever can be set off by the sticky sap exuded by real Christmas trees and can spark allergic reactions.
As a precaution you should spray your tree with water before bringing it indoors, wear thick gardening gloves and cover any bare skin when handling the tree.
What’s that smell?
We all like to make our houses warm and cosy during winter.
However, the perfume in scented candles can aggravate allergic conditions, especially when burnt in small spaces. Use plain candles or get the fairy lights as a solution.
Don’t go nuts
Food allergies can come on quickly and can induce sickness or a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.
Ask your guests if they have any allergies and avoid cross contamination of food just in case.
Pop allergies in the bud
Latex is mostly found in balloons, but also in pointsettias, the red plants that people bring into their homes duing the festive periods.
If you know someone who has a latex allergy, keep this iconic plant out of your home during the Christmas season.
What does an allergic reaction look like?
Mild symptoms include sneezing, itching, rash, tight chest, watery eyes/nose, worsening of asthma or eczema.
A severe allergic reaction is called analphylatic shock and is characterised by struggling to breathe, sickness, severe swelling and unconsciousness.
If someone starts having these symptoms ring 999 immediately. If they have an epi-pen, use it.
It is easier to treat mild allergies that have a clear cause and many allergy medicines, such as antihistamines, are available over the counter, but when symptoms are more troublesome, talk to your GP or online doctor who can discuss prescription-only treatment with you.
* Dr. Alexandra Phelan is an NHS GP and Online Doctor for Pharmacy2U. Manage your repeat prescriptions by going to www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/NHS