Whether it’s feasting on holiday meals, setting up your Christmas tree, or visiting pet-owning relatives, allergy triggers may be lurking in some surprising places this time of year. Combined with the stress of the holidays, you have the perfect recipe for an allergy or asthma attack. The good news is, you can avoiding some potential triggers with a little planning and preparation.Here are some tips to help keep your allergies and asthma under control this holiday season:
Carry an injectable dose of epinephrine to holiday parties where food allergens could be hiding. Inform the host about your food allergy and ask about the ingredients used to prepare the meal.
When visiting relatives who own pets, take your allergy medication before arriving. If you have asthma, be sure to bring rescue inhalers with you.
Evergreens often carry microscopic mold spores. You may think you are allergic to your tree, but it is likely the mold spores that are causing the sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy nose.
Be sure to clean decorations and artificial trees before decorating. They can gather mold and dust while in storage. Wash fabric decorations in hot, soapy water to remove mold and dust.
Hotel Rooms or Guest Rooms
Take your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover and request down-free pillows if you stay in a hotel or at a relative’s house. Dust mites can be especially troublesome.
Ask relatives and friends to avoid burning wood in the fireplace. The smoke can trigger an asthma attack.
The holidays can be a chaotic time of year, and high stress levels can sometimes lead to an asthma attack. Deep breathing and relaxation can help.
Most importantly, make sure you have all the medications you need should you become ill during the holidays. If you go out of town, take an emergency pack of medication and instructions with you. Early treatment of illness is crucial this time of year, because the last thing you need is an allergy or asthma attack to spoil your holiday plans.
Dr. Eugene Hurwitz is the medical director of the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia with offices in Carrollton, Villa Rica, Breman, Newnan Emory Mid-town, Hiram, Smyrna, Peachtree City and Avenues of Forsyth.
Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia