12 Allergy & Asthma Tips for the Holidays
Milwaukee - With the holiday season around the corner,
millions of Americans are preparing to decorate their homes and gather for
holiday feasts. But for the allergy and asthma sufferer, the holiday season
holds several potential triggers, according to the American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma & Immunology (AAAI).
Whether it's setting up your Christmas tree, visiting your pet owning
relatives, or feasting on holiday treats, allergy triggers may be lurking around
"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, FAAAI, vice chair of the AAAI's
Committe, "Remembering to take medication and avoid potential
triggers is necessary to keep symptoms under control."
The AAAI suggests the following 12 tips to help your holiday season be
- Before decorating a live Christmas tree, allow it to dry out on an
enclosed porch or garage. You may also 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.
- 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.
- When attending holiday parties, inform the host about
your food allergy
and ask about the ingredients used to prepare the meal.
- Carry self-injectable epinephrine in case you accidentally eat a food to
which you are allergic. Homeade items do not have ingredients lists and can
be contaminated with trace amounts of allergenic foods through contact with
storage containers, baking sheets and utensils.
- Remind family members and friends that strict avoidance is the only way
to manage food allergies and even one little bite can hurt.
- 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 your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover and request down-free
pillows if staying in a hotel.
Seek proper treatment
If your allergy and asthma symptoms are not under control, consult with an
allergist/immunologist to discuss treatment and environmental control options.
Allergists/immunologists are the best-qualified medical professionals trained to
manage the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of allergies and asthma.
Source: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology press release,
November 12, 2004
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Last Editorial Review: 11/16/2004