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The Allergy & Asthma Fighters Guide to Enjoying the Holidays

Allergy and Asthma image
Remember that homemade items don’t come with ingredients lists.

Do allergies & asthma threaten to be the Grinch in your hol­idays? Here are some tips to help keep your season merry.

Holiday Stress
The holidays are filled with hustle and bustle, but stress can trigger an asthma attack. Shop early or late in the day to avoid crowds. If “quiet time” isn’t a part of your normal routine, now is the time to start.

Hearth Health
Fires burning in the hearth bring warmth and ambiance to a holiday get-together. However, the smoke and ash can smother the spirit for some, provoking breathing difficulties or triggering an asthma attack. Request the Yule log remain unlit.

Dusty Decorations
Clean dust from artificial Christmas trees and other hol­iday decorations before displaying them. Remember that glass, metal, and plastic decorations are easier to keep dust free than soft, fabric ones.

O Christmas Tree
Some people can be allergic to Christmas trees. Reduce your reaction by shaking your tree thor­oughly – many vendors have a machine that can do this – and allowing it to dry for a few days in a covered area before bringing it indoors.

Fido and Fluffy
Prepare for visits to homes with pets by taking your allergy or asthma medication before the visit. The medication may help reduce your reaction. You can also ask party hosts to keep pets in a separate room. When staying overnight with family or at a hotel, you can reduce allergic reactions to dust mites and pet dander by bringing your own allergen-proof pillow.

Homemade Goodies
Food is a cen­tral fixture in most holiday gatherings. Remember that homemade items don’t come with ingredients lists. If you or your child has food allergies, be cau­tious, especially around homemade treats. Foods can become tainted through cross-contamination in the baker’s kitchen or food storage con­tainers – and even a trace amount can trigger a reaction.


Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology,

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, Winter 2011-2012.