Allergies During the Holiday Season

There’s a chill in the air, holiday music playing on the radio, and just about a hundred tasks to get done before the 25th. It’s not just the holiday season, for many, it is tissue season as well. There are many different allergy triggers you can run into during the holidays, whether it is your cousin’s dog or a Christmas tree. No matter your allergy, don’t let it put a damper on the holidays. Keep these tips in mind while celebrating this year:

Offer to Host
If you or your children have food allergies, offer to host, since this will allow you to control what food is served. If your guests would like to bring a dish, let them know what they can and cannot bring into your home. Communication is key, even if your friends and family members know of you or your child’s allergies, don’t assume they understand the severity them.

Avoid Cross-Contamination
If you do have foods with allergens, designate an area for those foods to sit separately from the other foods. Alternatively, you can use colored handles on serving ware to designate what is allergy-friendly and what is not.

As you bring out the holiday decorations from last year be aware of allergens that could be lurking on them. Most store their decorations in a basement or attic and they can gather dust or mold over the year, so give them a wipe down before hanging them up. Storing decorations in plastic containers instead of cardboard also helps cut down on allergens.

The Christmas Tree: Real vs Artificial
Many people love real Christmas trees, however, mold spores and pollen can cling to the tree trunk and branches. Also, many are allergic to terpene, a substance found in the oil of evergreen trees. If you plan to have a live tree use these tips:

  • Wipe the trunk of the tree thoroughly with a solution of 1 part bleach, 20 parts lukewarm water.
  • Use a leaf blower to remove visible grains of pollen from the tree.
  • Let the tree dry thoroughly in an enclosed porch or garage before bringing it indoors.

Artificial trees also come with their own allergens. You can give your tree a quick wipe down to get rid of any dust on them.

Holiday Scents and Respiratory Triggers
The holidays often remind us of a specific smell of gingerbread, pumpkin, and pine, which has been replicated by many candles and air fresheners. While they smell great, these air pollutants can irritate the throat and nose of others. Avoid potpourri, sprays, and even a wood burning fire that can cause respiratory issues for those with asthma.

If you plan on spraying artificial snow, follow the directions carefully; inhaling these sprays can also irritate the lungs and allergies.

You may be visiting family or friends who have pets, and dogs or cats that typically spend time outside spend more time inside during the winter months. If you cannot avoid them, remember you can at least prepare your body by taking allergy medications beforehand. When spending the night, keep pets out of your bedroom and remember pet dander can travel on clothing.

Flu Shot
During the holidays while you are trading gifts with your family and friends, you will also be trading germs. Wash your hands frequently and don’t forget to get your annual flu shot. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get the vaccine to help protect you and your loved ones from the flu.

Hopefully, these tips keep you rocking around the Christmas tree this year. Have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family!

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  1. […] Symptoms of pet allergies can worsen around the holidays. Pets are indoors more, both at your house and in the homes of friends and family2. […]

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