While the holiday season is described as the most wonderful time of the year, people with allergies and asthma may beg to differ. This time of the year can pose additional risks as holiday-related allergens can trigger serious reactions. The allergists and staff of Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia want you and your family to have a happy, healthy, and symptom-free season. Here are some tips to help you avoid seasonal allergy and asthma problems:
Beware of The Buffet
Many individuals attend events with buffets or potluck-style parties during the holiday season. Of course, during these types of parties, guests are invited to bring their favorite dishes to share amongst other partygoers. While this can be a fun way to share favorite foods, it can be dangerous for those who suffer from food allergies. If that includes you or a family member, consider the following actions:
- Be certain of your specific food allergens through allergy skin testing and if recommended, an oral food challenge.
- Always ask the ingredients in any dish you consume and make sure the host and others are aware of your allergy.
- Be aware that allergens can show up in the strangest places. For example, allergens in stuffing can be absorbed into the turkey meat, so cook your bird unstuffed.
- Consider bringing your own food and only consume those dishes at your holiday events.
- If your child has a food allergy, offer to provide allergy-friendly snacks for the holiday events.
- Always carry your injectable epinephrine!
Watch What’s in the Air
The scents of the season can spell trouble for some. Be aware of what’s in the air:
- Many people with asthma report problems from seasonal air fresheners which contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Candles and other seasonal items can also trigger symptoms in some people.
- Smoke from an indoor or outdoor fires may feel nice this time of the year, but smoke is a common trigger for asthmatics. Make sure your chimney is working properly and keep a distance from outdoor bonfires.
- Asthma symptoms can also be triggered by exposure to cold/dry air. And increased exposure to viral infections this time of the year also spells trouble for those with respiratory conditions, like asthma. Practice good hygiene, get plenty of rest, and continue your medications as prescribed by your allergist.
Choose (and Care for) Your Tree Wisely
For those who suffer from allergies, being near Christmas trees can lead to wheezing and sneezing. In most cases, these symptoms are not actually triggered by the trees themselves but by the molds and dust that might reside in the branches. If someone in your household is allergic to these allergens, consider the following:
- Temporarily store the tree in the garage or yard before bringing it in the house. Use a leaf blower to remove dust.
- Rinse off the tree with a garden hose and let it dry in the sun.
- Limit the amount of time the Christmas tree is in the home.
Artificial trees can also trigger allergy symptoms if they collect dust and mold over the year. Remember to store them, and other decorations, in air-tight containers and clean off any remaining dust before using.
If your holiday plans include travel, think about the following:
- Refill and pack any needed medications (in a carry-on if traveling by plane)
- Call ahead to places you will stay and make them aware of your food allergies and discuss any environmental allergy triggers that may cause problems.
- Stay up to date on vaccinations, like the annual flu shot.
Suffering from Allergies or Asthma this Holiday Season? Call Us Today.
If you or someone you love suffers from allergies or asthma-related problems, we urge you to contact our Atlanta-area allergists at Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia. We will diagnose your condition and determine which treatment options are right for you. Remember, the sooner you contact us, the sooner you will begin breathing better and feeling better.