Planning ahead will reduce the risk of allergies and asthma interfering with your holiday plans, an expert says.
“In addition to concerns about COVID-19, those with allergies and asthma sometimes have an added layer of anxiety because they need to always be thinking about allergy and asthma triggers that can cause serious symptoms,” said Dr. Mark Corbett, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“With a bit of preparation ahead of your events, you can make sure everyone is safe from allergy and asthma flares, in addition to possible COVID-19 exposure,” he said in an ACAAI news release.
The medical association offered a number of tips:
- In addition to a COVID vaccine or booster, consider a flu shot this year. The flu can make asthma symptoms more severe, so it’s recommended that anyone with asthma get a flu vaccine.
- Think twice about using candles or lighting the fireplace. Smoke of any kind can be a problem for people with asthma. And while products such as air fresheners, artificial snow, potpourri and other scents are not technically allergic triggers, they can irritate already inflamed airways.
- Food is an essential part of holiday celebrations, but it can be risky for those with food allergies. If you or a family member have a food allergy and you’re going to a gathering, you should alert the host about potential problem foods, bring a safe dish or two to share, and be sure you have your epinephrine auto injectors with you.
- Some people are allergic to the terpene in the sap of trees or bothered by mold found in trees and wreaths. Artificial trees don’t pose those problems, but can trigger dust allergies if they’re not cleaned off. The same is true of other holiday decorations.
- Take prescribed medications before you leave the house, and work with your allergist if your allergies or asthma symptoms seem particularly bad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health tips.
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Nov. 23, 2021