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To Christmas Tree or Not to Christmas Tree?

Are you starting to make plans for Christmas?  Based on my last shopping trip, all the major retailers are lining their isles full of decorations, trimmings and gift suggestions.  But did you know there is a common allergy myth hidden in those isles?  Many of us have heard to get a fake Christmas tree because real ones cause allergies.  Well, the truth is, you aren’t allergic to the tree, but what the tree brings with it.  A person with tree allergy is allergic to the pollen.  The majority of trees, including the popular types of Christmas trees, all pollinate in the Spring so don’t throw out your family tradition.   If you or your child has greater allergic reactions or asthma attacks with a real tree, it is most likely due to dust and mold (a typical problem for the fake trees as well).  There is a simple solution.  Before you bring the tree into the house, rinse it off.  This should help.

This isn’t the only myth.  Here are two other popular allergy myths:

The hypoallergenic dog – We have all heard of the hypoallergenic dog but they don’t really exist.  Even the First Family went out on a search for an allergy free species.  They picked a beautiful dog, but not one that will help avoid allergic reactions. The truth is every species of dog has dander, which is where the proteins we are allergic to are located, and if a dog has dander then you can have an allergic reaction.  There is some interesting research showing that the amount of dander is directly related to how often the dog is bathed or gets wet as well as the density of the hair.  So don’t get rid of your Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen or Bichon just yet, just make sure they have their doggy spa days more often.

Under control dust mites – For the 30 million of you that suffer from a dust mite allergy, I have some bad news:  you are fighting a losing battle.  Everyone has seen the products for pillow cases and mattress covers that claim they stop dust mites from growing in your bed.  Really, many of these products are either false or a band-aid on a large wound.  Truth of the matter is, dust mites grow everywhere and in anything soft – furniture, carpet, stuffed animals, and so on.  There really isn’t any way to control dust mites from being in your house.  The best way to help minimize these creepy-crawlers is to replace items like pillows as often as you can.

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