Tips To Avoid Holiday Asthma, Allergy And COPD Triggers

“During the holidays, people are unpacking decorations, setting up trees and lighting scented candles – all things that stir up respiratory irritants,” says Pam Garrett, medical services practice specialist and COPD population coordinator. “Pollen, dust, mold, mildew and dust mites can be particularly dangerous for individuals with asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions like bronchitis. Exposure triggers inflammation, which narrows the airway and makes it hard to breathe.”

Here are some easy tips to minimize these irritants:


Wear a mask or leave the area to let the dust settle.
Dust or wipe them with a warm, wet rag.
Wipe them down before storing and put in sealed, plastic bags or bins.

Tree skirts, pillows, blankets and stuffed animals:

Wash in hot water before you set them out.
Wash again before storing and put in plastic bags or bins.

Artificial Trees:

Store in a plastic tree bin or a dry area.
Avoid trees with artificial snow.
Replace if tree becomes mildewed or moldy.

Live Evergreen Trees:

Set up the tree in your garage or driveway to let it air out.
Wipe down the trunk.
Wear a mask when setting up and decorating the tree.

Air fresheners or scented candles:

Avoid using them in your décor.

Poinsettias and other potted plants (real or silk):

Wipe down the leaves.
If problems persist, eliminate these from your décor.

For more holiday wellness tips and ideas, visit the Health (e) Library at Or find the perfect physician for you at


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