National Asthma Council Australia CEO Kristine Whorlow says most people don’t know that cypress and pine trees produce high amounts of pollen, which can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms.
“And, like many indoor plants, real Christmas trees can harbour mould,” she says.
“Artificial trees also carry risk and are not necessarily a safe alternative, as while being stored away they can collect a significant amount of dust and mould, both of which are common asthma triggers.”
To minimise the Christmas wheeze, the National Asthma Council Australia has released these Top 12 Asthma Tips for the 12 Days of Christmas.
1.Don’t let Christmas greens make you blue – stay clear of real Christmas trees if you are allergic to Cyprus or pine pollen.
2.Beware of dust and mould from stored decorations and artificial trees – unpack and clean them outside before displaying them inside.
3.Plan ahead for outdoor parties – remember pollen season isn’t over yet, and cigarette smoke, changeable weather and bushfire haze are all asthma triggers.
4.Get your lungs in tune for carol season – see your doctor for an asthma check-up and make sure your asthma management is as good as it can be.
5.Remember to take your preventer every day if prescribed – don’t let good habits drop out of your routine in the Christmas chaos.
6.Take care of your mental health – talk to our doctor, if you need to, about how to best manage the season’s stress, anxiety and high emotions, which can all trigger asthma symptoms.
7.Avoid scented candles and oils – keep these popular gifts away from sensitive noses, as they can make it harder for people with asthma or allergies to breathe.
8.Give a practical present to someone with asthma or allergies – offer to do their vacuuming or mow their lawn (if you aren’t sensitive yourself).
9.Consider gifts that may be better choices for people with asthma or allergies – look for the Sensitive Choice blue butterfly on a range of approved products and services.
10.Prepare your home for sensitive guests – put your pet outside or in another room, don’t use room fragrances, and dust and vacuum before they arrive.
11.Check if any guests have food allergies or intolerances – keep the nuts in the pantry until you’re sure.
12.Enjoy your Christmas pudding – unless you have a confirmed dairy allergy, don’t be scared of cream or brandy custard; dairy products rarely trigger asthma symptoms.