Six Tips to Ensure Allergies and Asthma Don’t Ruin Holiday Cheer (online only)
By American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)
Holiday gatherings are festive fun, but it’s not easy to
be the life of the party when you’re sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. From the
host’s overpowering perfume to the nuts in the snack bowl, holiday parties can
be a challenge for people with allergies and asthma.
“During the holiday season you’re going to be exposed to
allergens,” said allergist Dr. Myron Zitt, M.D., past president of the American
College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Be aware of where the
problems lie so you can deal with them. And then, have a good time!”
Let your host know you’ll be at the party with bells on
after following these suggestions from the American College of Allergy, Asthma
and Immunology (ACAAI) and its allergist members.
1. Medicate before you go: There’s almost no avoiding the
dusty decorations, the holiday candles, the potpourri or the perfume-doused
reveler, and any of them may cause an allergic reaction. Your best bet is to
take your antihistamine before you go. Find an allergist who can prescribe
2. Be the designated driver: Toast your host with sparkling water. In addition
to being more clear-headed and safer on the road, you’ll avoid a possible
reaction to ingredients, including preservatives in beer or wine. If you think
you’ve had a reaction, it’s a good idea to see an allergist to determine the
cause your misery.
3. Eat smart: From the creamy dip to the gooey chocolate dessert, holiday
goodies can be tempting, but may contain many common allergens, including
dairy, nuts, soy and wheat. Ask your host if the munchies contain anything
you’re allergic to. And if you suffer from severe food allergies, always carry
your injectable epinephrine.
4. Steer clear of smoke: The cozy fire in the hearth can warm your cockles but
make your lungs wheeze – smoke is a common asthma trigger. Go mingle in another
5. Don’t let the greens make you blue: Christmas trees and other holiday greenery
that deck the halls look pretty, but are associated with several possible
allergens. You may be allergic to the mold commonly found on the trunk or the
terpene in the tree sap of a natural tree. And the artificial kind can be
covered with dust – a common allergen – after spending the year in the attic.
Be sure to thoroughly clean your tree before putting it up. Poinsettias, a
member of the rubber tree family, are everywhere this time of year. Stay away
if you have a latex allergy
6. Go on the defense: You could exchange more than conversation during cocktail
party banter. Flu germs are everywhere and the illness can worsen asthma. Play
it safe by getting a seasonal flu shot.
If you find you are sniffling and sneezing year round, allergy shots may be the
treatment that can help you put your symptoms behind you for good. To learn
more about allergies, asthma and allergy shots, take a self-relief test and
find an allergist near you, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.