Pigs in blankets, mulled wine, Christmas trees and the stress of shopping for presents could all trigger potentially deadly asthma attacks, experts warn.
Sufferers’ airways become inflamed and tighten when they come into contact with common irritants.
Now charity Asthma UK has issued a warning to the 5.4million Brits living with the condition to take extra care during the festive period.
Stress is a trigger for almost half of those affected, while cold weather brings its own hazards, with winter to blame for the deaths of 650 people from asthma attacks last year.
The organisation says the drop in temperature, combined with the spread of bugs like colds and flu and even dust from central heating, raises the danger for sufferers.
Dust triggers symptoms in 64 per cent of people, and levels of dust mites can increase from artificial Christmas trees that have been stored in the loft, garage or spare room.
Real trees also pose a threat, with 42 per cent of asthmatics affected by mould spores released into the air.
One in five people with the condition is sensitive to at least one type of food or drink, especially sulphites in processed meat such as pigs in blankets.
Alcohol also contains sulphites, particularly in red wine which is popularly mixed with spices and warmed up to make mulled wine.
But the bad news doesn’t end there for those with asthma as smoke from log fires and burning fragranced candles each affect about 50 per cent.
Figures show that one in 14 sufferers have had an attack at their work Christmas party, on Christmas Day or on New Year’s Eve.
Dr Andy Whittamore, from Asthma UK, said: “Don’t let Christmas party essentials like mulled wine and Christmas trees trigger an asthma attack and ruin your festive fun.
“Following simple tips could be lifesaving, like taking your preventer medicine every day and always having your reliever inhaler with you.
“It will help you stay well so you can concentrate on enjoying yourself.”
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