December 15, 2020

Managing Allergies During the Holidays: A Survival Guide

Allergies don’t care that it’s the holiday season, and unfortunately the holidays fall during some of the worst seasonal and environmental allergy times of the year. There are so many things that can make seasonal and environmental allergies worse, from seasonal foods to avoid, to scented candles and the fresh pine scent of your Christmas tree. Even some holiday decorations and sitting around the fire can exacerbate your allergies. How? We’ll explore all the elements here.

Can Holiday Decorations Make Allergies Worse?

Sometimes. You know those decorations that have been boxed up for the past 12 months? Well, those are most likely collecting dust or mold, and most people with allergies are allergic to dust mites.

If you know your allergies are triggered by dust mites or mold, consider wearing a face mask when you are taking them out of storage.

Make sure to dust your decorations off – preferably outside – before putting them up around the house.

Wash fabric decorations like stockings, tree skirts, etc. in hot, soapy water before displaying

Before putting them back in storage, make sure to wrap them in plastic to prevent dust and mold clinging to themnext year. Choosing to store decorations in plastic boxes rather than cardboard will also help in preventing mold growth.

Is My Real Christmas Tree Making My Allergies Worse?

If you celebrate Christmas, then no decorating is complete without the home’s centerpiece: the Christmas tree. If you and yourloved ones can’t get enough of the real thing, you could be inviting allergensinto your home and your life, says the ACAAI.

Here are a few tips on how to minimize an allergic reaction to your Christmas tree:

· Before decorating a live Christmas tree, allow it to dry out on an enclosed porch or garage. If you are allergic to mold you can also spray with a fungicide (be aware of a chemical odor).

· Shake the tree off prior to placing in the home. An air compressor can be helpful for blowing out debris.

· The same goes if you have any wreaths made of real pine, and even holly or mistletoe. These too could lead to allergy symptoms. Try to limit the amount of days the greenery is in the home.

· An air purifier in the same room as the tree can help reduce mold levels.

· Remove the tree immediately from the home if you notice it triggering your allergy or asthma symptoms.

Can Scented Candles Trigger My Allergies?

Absolutely! The holidays are linked to smells of pine, holly, seasonal berries and even baking. If you can’t make all these scents happen in real life, then you might thing a scented candle is the next best thing. And it seems to also be a favorite last-minute holiday gift!

Unfortunately, scented candles can lead to allergy and asthma flare ups. Candles, especially scented ones, can release toxic soot and petrochemicals that can aggravate the respiratory tract.

Here are a few tips to consider when using scented candles this holiday season:

· Unscented candles are just as beautiful as scented. Consider making the switch

· If you just can’t avoid using scented candles always light them in well-ventilated areas. This way, the smell of the candle isn’t as strong.

· Never light candles in the bedroom of an allergy or asthma sufferer. The prolonged exposure can disrupt sleep and worsen symptoms.

· Similarly, do not light a candle at the dinner table.

· Open fires are a tradition for many during the holiday season, but they produce smoke and fumes that can be an allergy or asthma trigger for many people. Ask your relatives or friends to avoid burning wood in the fireplace.

Did You Know Open Fires Can Also Be A Trigger for Allergies and Asthma?

Sitting around the fireplace is an exciting tradition for many during the holiday season, but they produce smoke and fumes that can be an allergy or asthma trigger for many people and lead to shortness of breath or coughing.

Make these easy adjustments when using a fireplace, to avoid an allergic reaction:

· Minimize your time around fireplaces, fire pits or bonfires if you can help it. The smoke could lead to wheezing and other lung discomfort. Make an effort to not be downwind if outside.

· Electric fireplaces can be a great alternative for creating that perfect holiday setting. These mimic the look and sounds of a real fire without any of the smoke or odors.

· Use smokeless fuel when possible instead of smoky fuels.

Staying Aware of Food Allergies during the Holidays

Holiday eating can be a huge risk for food allergy sufferers. From holiday side dishes to mystery cookies served at holiday parties, the food may lookdelicious, but is it worth eating? This goes both ways, as it’s equally important to follow the same rules when attending a party and hosting a party.  

Here are some tips for navigating holiday meals:

· When attending holiday parties, inform the host about your food allergy and ask about ingredients used to prepare the meal. Similarly, if you are hosting the event, make sure to ask guests if anyone has a food allergy. Better to be safe than sorry!

· Always ask what’s in a dish before you eat it! For instance, you might think you know all the ingredients, but you can never be truly certain what’s in it if it’s homemade. Now a days we need to be asking the ingredients in the ingredients!

· Remind family and friends that even “one little bit” can be harmful. Because of this it’s important to avoid cross contamination of food utensils, plates, etc.

· When visiting family or friends, be prepared for possible reactions to everything, from pets to food toper fumes. Never leave home without the appropriate medication(s), equipment, and a written action plan so that proper steps can be taken in case of an emergency.

· If visiting homes that have pets, pre-medicate to minimize a possible reaction.

· Bring an injectable epinephrine with you and keep it on your person during all holiday eating events.

· And if you are preparing a holiday dish, do your research beforehand and make something that is food allergy friendly, with one of these recipes.

Aspire Allergy & Sinus Can Help You Manage Your Allergies and Asthma During the Holidays

We want you to enjoy the holiday season and its activities, so please let us know how we can help! Schedule your appointment with one of our allergy specialists today!

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