Allercy and Asthma Health
The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Enjoy the Holidays without Aggravating Your Asthma and Allergies

For many people, this is their favorite time of the year: turkeys roasting, decorations coming out of storage, trees going up in livings rooms, visits to friends and relatives.

But if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, the upcoming holiday season can mean stuffed up noses and sneezing attacks as well, because those big feasts are full of troublemaking foods, those decorations are replete with a year’s worth of dust, those trees come complete with pollens, and those friends and relatives often have houses full of pet dander.

What can you do to make sure you not only survive, but thrive this November and December? Consider these tips from respiratory therapists at the American Association for Respiratory Care:

  • Use an artificial tree instead of a real tree, and be sure to take it outside and give it a thorough cleaning before setting it up to eliminate dust and mold that could’ve accumulated while it was in storage.
  • Wash all stored decorations as well, including all fabric decorations, for the same reasons.
  • If you are purchasing new decorations this year, go with plastic, metal, or glass varieties that cannot trap dust mites.
  • Forego the artificial snow that many people spray on windows. It can aggravate the airways.
  • Avoid wood burning fires at home and when visiting friends and relatives.
  • If you’ll be sharing a holiday meal at a friend’s or relative’s home, be sure to tell them in advance about any food allergies you may have and ask them to help you avoid those dishes.
  • Be sure to carry self-injectable epinephrine with you on your holiday travels so you’ll be prepared in case of a severe reaction.
  • If you must visit a home with pets and you know you are allergic, take medication before arriving to minimize a possible reaction.
  • Take your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover when going on overnight visits.
  • Don’t forget your medications while traveling—take them with you, and then take them as prescribed while you are away.
Following this simple advice can go a long way to keeping the “happy” in your “holidays.”


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