Managing Allergies and Asthma

Originally posted here by Dr. Javier Chinen, a specialist in allergic disorders and immunology defects at Texas Children’s Hospital. 

In the next few weeks and during the holiday season, many families will be decorating their homes, attending parties and traveling to visit friends and relatives. For people with allergies and/or asthma, these activities might trigger a flare up. With busy schedules, it is easy to forget to take the proper precautions to keep symptoms under control.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you celebrate this jolly season:

For respiratory allergies and asthma:

  • When visiting homes with pets, taking allergy medication before arriving might help reducing the severity of a possible reaction.
  • Evergreens often carry mold spores. You might think the allergy symptoms, like sneezing, watery eyes and itchy nose, are caused by your Christmas tree, but it is likely the mold spores are causing these symptoms.
  • Clean decorations and artificial trees before decorating as they can gather mold and dust while in storage. Remember to wash fabric decorations.
  • If sensitive to indoor allergens, consider taking your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover when staying in a hotel or a relative’s house.
  • Stay far away from burning wood and fireplaces. Smoke and fumes can trigger an asthma attack.

For food allergies:

  • When attending holiday parties or family gatherings, inform the host about food allergies and ask about the ingredients used to prepare the meal.
  • Carry an auto-injectable dose of epinephrine.
  • Remember homemade dishes could have trace amounts of allergenic foods through contact with storage containers or kitchen utensils.

As you celebrate this joyful season, plan ahead and take extra caution to ensure a truly joyful holiday.

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