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12 Allergy & Asthma Tips for the Holidays

For people with asthma & allergies, the holidays present unique health challenges. Busy social schedules, chilly weather, and family customs make staying healthy a priority.

Surviving — and enjoying — the holidays is easier when you plan ahead and take preventative action. Here are some tips to help you plan for the holidays:

  1. Remove allergens from a live Christmas tree by using a shaking machine; and let it dry outside before decorating.
  2. Avoid mold and dust from a stored artificial Christmas tree by cleaning it outside before decorating.
  3. Wash fabric decorations in hot, soapy water before displaying.
  4. Use plastic, metal, or glass decorations that won't trap dust mites.
  5. Artificial snow sprays can irritate your lungs if you inhale them, so be sure to follow directions.
  6. At holiday parties, inform your host about any food allergies and ask about ingredients used to prepare the meal.
  7. Always carry self-injectable epinephrine, in case you accidentally eat a food to which you are allergic.
  8. Remind family members and friends that strict avoidance is the only way to manage food allergies — even one little bite can hurt.
  9. When visiting homes with pets, take medication before you arrive, to minimize a possible reaction.
  10. Pay attention to your stress level, which can sometimes lead to an asthma attack.
  11. Because smoke can trigger an asthma attack, ask your relatives and friends to avoid burning wood in the fireplace.
  12. When traveling away from home, take your own pillow with an allergen-proof cover; at hotels, ask for down-free pillows.