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Christmas cheer can leave some breathless

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Asthma sufferers have been warned to be cautious when partaking in the Christmas spirit because of a plethora of hidden allergens that could trigger attacks.

National Asthma Council Australia said common Christmas decorations including candles, trees and other items could easily provoke an attack in the two million Australians who live with the condition.

“Most people are unaware that Cypress and pine trees produce high amounts of pollen, and pollen can trigger hay fever symptoms and asthma, especially when the trees are displayed indoors, the Council’s Chief Executive Officer Kristine Whorlow said.

Ms Whorlow said even artificial trees could cause problems, because of the dust and mould they accumulated over several years of storage and use.

She said that, in order to minimise the risk of an attack, people should vacuum and wipe down artificial trees and decorations as soon as they were unpacked.

Ms Whorlow warned that other potential triggers of an attack included dusty decorations and scented candles.

“If you have asthma, it’s important to be aware of your asthma triggers and manage them if possible,” she said. “Make sure you have your medication with you, and take it as advised by your doctor, even if you are out partying or away on holidays.”

Adrian Rollins