With the holiday season just around the corner, millions of Americans are preparing to decorate their homes, gather for feasts and travel to visit relatives. However, for allergy and asthma sufferers, the holiday season presents several potential triggers.
Whether it’s feasting on holiday meals, setting up your Christmas tree, or visiting your pet-owning relatives, allergy triggers may be lurking. Unfortunately, with busy schedules, travel time and the stress of the holidays, it is easy to forget to take the proper care when dealing with allergies and asthma.
Here are some tips to help keep your allergies and asthma under control this holiday season:
- When attending holiday parties, inform the host about your food allergy and ask about the ingredients used to prepare the meal.
- Carry an auto-injectable dose of epinephrine when attending a holiday party where unrecognized food allergens could be hiding. Homemade items do not have ingredient lists and could be contaminated with trace amounts of allergenic foods through contact with storage containers or kitchen utensils.
- Remind family members and friends that strict avoidance is the only way to manage food allergies and that even one little bite can trigger a dangerous reaction.
- If visiting relatives’ homes who own pets, take your allergy medication before arriving in order to minimize a possible reaction.
- Evergreens often carry microscopic mold spores. You might think you are allergic to your Christmas tree, but it is likely that it is the mold spores that are causing those symptoms.
- Clean decorations and artificial trees outside before decorating. They can gather mold and dust while in storage. Wash fabric decorations in hot, soapy water before displaying them to remove mold and dust.
- When spraying artificial snow on windows or other surfaces, be sure to follow directions. These sprays can irritate your lungs if you inhale them.
- The holidays can be a stressful time of year. Pay attention to your stress level, which can sometimes lead to an asthma attack. Deep breathing and relaxation can help.
- Take along your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover and request down-free pillows if staying in a hotel or at a relative’s house. Dust mites can be especially troublesome if traveling away from home.
- Ask your relatives and friends to avoid burning wood in the fireplace. The smoke can trigger an asthma attack.