Holiday IAQ Suggestions
- Holiday Celebrations Can Trigger Asthma Attacks- Especially in Children. As we get closer to the Christmas season, friends and family will gather to visit, to party, to eat, and to exchange gifts. It is a time when homes are decorated with holly and pine.It is a time when many homes add artificial fragrances of pine, cinnamon and apple and various pot pourri’s, incense and candles. It is also a time for all of us to be aware that many of these fragrances can trigger asthma attacks in adults and in children.According to research, published in the European Respiratory Journal, (http://www. pharmacynews.com.au/article/incense-burning-linked-to-asthma/526467.aspx) children whose parents burned incense were 36 percent more likely to have asthma than those whose parents did not. Remember that many fragrances are petroleum based or contain unregulated chemicals that can cause respiratory constriction, burning and watering of eyes, and hyperactivity.And then there are the Christmas trees. Live trees can harbor mold spores that will become airborne one inside and the tree begins to dry out. Artificial trees are usually the best for asthmatics, but may also be magnets for dust. Consider putting your tree up outside and then hose it down with clean water. One water stops dripping from the tree, bring it inside and trim it.Finally, dietary considerations must be recognized. Simple holiday foods can trigger allergic and asthmatic attacks that will pretty much destroy any holiday festivity. Nuts, eggs, milk and shellfish are common triggers and should be put out only when you know your guests are notaffected by these triggers.Bottom line: make your home merry and bright and forget the added scents, the items thatadd dust or mold to the inside air, and the foods that can trigger problems. Most importantly, have a Merry Christmas!
Mansel A NelsonProgram CoordinatorTribal Environmental Education Outreach928-523-1275