PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Christmas is supposed to be a time to be merry, but for some, the decorations are making their lives miserable.

For Kevin McCraken, Christmas brings more than just presents and good cheer.

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“Almost immediate within a minute or going up to get the Christmas decorations I was sneezing and coughing,” McCraken said.

The holidays kick his allergies into high gear.

Dan Howard is a home inspector who specialized in testing homes for allergens. He’s been hired by Kevin and his wife, Tammy, to let them know exactly what’s making them cough and sneeze.

“Feeling congested and having allergy problems through the season is not a good plan,” Howard said.

Howard says how you store your decorations is important.

“We have a lot of decorations in cardboard boxes and we had some not in any boxes,” Tammy said.

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Your wreaths and garland can be filled with dust and mold if not stored properly.

“I go to pick these up and I’m going to shake it loose and drag it all the way through the house,” Howard said.

Howard said storing decorations in cardboard boxes is a bad idea because cardboard holds moisture and is a food source for mold.

Instead, put your decorations in plastic bins and plastic bags.

“Storing these in a contained area, even a garbage bag is pretty important to not having this happen next year,” Howard said.

Most people have their decorations already out this year. However, next year when you unpack them, bring them outside or into the garage. Shake them out and clean them off outside the home so you don’t have a build-up of allergens right in the middle of the living room.

When you pack them back up, wipe everything down.


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