Allergy & asthma tips for the holidays
The holiday season holds several potential triggers for allergy and asthma sufferers. Whether it’s setting up your Christmas tree, visiting your pet-owning relatives, or feasting on holiday treats, allergy triggers may be lurking around every corner.
“With hectic schedules and constant traveling around the holidays, it’s easy to forget to take proper care when dealing with allergies and asthma,” said Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, MS, FAAAAI, vice-chair of the AAAAI’s Indoor Allergen Committee. “Remembering to take medication and avoid potential triggers is necessary to keep symptoms under control.”
Tips for an Allergy-Free Holiday Season
Before decorating a live Christmas tree, allow it to dry out on an enclosed porch or garage. You also may want to explore whether the tree retailer has a shaking machine, which will physically remove some allergens from the tree.
- Clean artificial Christmas trees outside before decorating. They can gather mold and dust in storage.
- Change the filter in your air purifier.
- Wash fabric decorations in hot, soapy water before displaying.
- Use plastic, metal or glass decorations that cannot trap dust mites.
- When spraying artificial snow on windows or other surfaces, be sure to follow directions. These sprays can irritate your lungs if you inhale them.
- If visiting relatives’ homes who have pets, take medication before arriving to minimize a possible reaction.
- The holidays can be a very stressful time of year. Pay attention to your stress level, which can sometimes lead to an asthma attack.
- Ask your relatives and friends to avoid burning wood in the fireplace. The smoke can trigger an asthma attack.
- Dust mites can be especially troubling when traveling away from home, take a desktop air purifier and your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover and request down-free pillows if staying in a hotel.