(CBS) – Grass isn’t growing and flowers aren’t blooming. So, what’s causing your sneezing and sniffling this time of year?
It could be your holiday decorations, CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.READ MORE: Chicago Police Video Of Gruesome Humboldt Park Shooting Was Made Public Without City's Permission, CBS 2 Has Learned
For Kevin McCracken, Christmas brings more than just presents and good cheer. As soon as he brings down the Christmas decorations from the attic, the effects are felt.
“Within a minute or two, I was sneezing and I was coughing,” he says.
The holidays kick his allergies into high gear.
Dan Howard is a home inspector who specializes in finding allergens in homes.
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 just really doesn’t sound like a good plan,” he says.READ MORE: 1 Dead After Crash On Dan Ryan Expressway At 63rd Street; All Lanes Were Shut Down
Howard immediately found an issue with the way the McCrackens store their Christmas decorations.
“We have a lot of decorations that are in cardboard boxes and we had some that are not in any boxes,” Tammy McCracken says.
Those wreaths and garland can be filled with dust and mold.
Howard says storing decorations in cardboard boxes is a bad idea because cardboard holds moisture and is a food source for mold.
Instead, he says, use plastic bins or even garbage bags.
A couple more tips: Before you pack up this year’s decorations, wipe them down.MORE NEWS: Man Fatally Shot While Working On Car In Front Of His Fernwood Home
And next year, shake them out and clean them off in the garage or outside the house before you put them up. That way, you don’t have a build-up of allergens in the living room or family room.