Asthma allies: How to buy a gift for a person with asthma

Gift giving is hard—it is an awesome task, but it’s a hard one. How do you pick out that perfect gift for a special person in your life? And how the heck do you do that when that awesome person has asthma and many of the go-to fallback options are not good options for that person? Asthma Allies—that is, people who care about people with asthma but don’t have asthma themselves—I got you. (Although, let’s not get into why you shouldn’t give puppies or kittens as Christmas gifts, okay? Okay.)

How to buy a gift for a person with asthma:

1. Learn about the common asthma triggers and think about how they might affect your gift-giving choices. Animals, plants, dust, food and chemicals/fragrances are all common asthma triggers.

  • “Kerri,” you say, “I am not giving my friend a bag of concrete for Christmas. Dust?!”
    Yes, random person talking to their computer. I get that (although some people, like my cousin, would appreciate a bag of concrete for a gift, actually). Certain items like stuffed toys can harbor dust—for kids, check in with parents on what, if any, limitations they have on “stuffies” for their kiddos. And while it might be nice to buy a throw rug for a home with wall-to-wall hardwood, a dust allergy might be the reason that the throw rug doesn’t already exist.
  • It’s totally okay to ask about asthma triggers. We appreciate that you’re taking the time to be considerate!

2. Fancy hand soaps and lotions are a common choice for women especially—for women with asthma, migraines or other health conditions, they are often not a great choice (or some people just like to pick their own scents, really). But we aren’t all the same. Either follow the ask about triggers step above, or include a gift receipt. (Bonus considerate points if you include a gift receipt and a note offering to return the product for the person—sometimes just walking by Bath & Body Works or The Body Shop makes me feel gross.

3. Plants can be nice, but they have to be right, especially if allergies are in the mix. Plus, some people—AKA me—just suck at taking care of plants. However, my cousin got me a cactus for my birthday last year which is super freaking rad—I named it Marge, after Marge Simpson, because her hair looks like a cactus.

Guess what? The cactus does not smell like anything, I can forget to water it for four months awhile and it’s not dead. And if it gets dusty you honestly just stick it under the sink to water it and you’re good to go.

I mean, some people are super allergic to cacti, according to Google, so maybe randomly text them and be like “HEY are you allergic to cacti?” and they’ll be like “Dude, WTF, no.” or “Actually I am.” and then you will know.

Look, nobody is going to suspect anything if you ask them a super random question about a cactus allergy.

4. I know, I am also of the camp that hates getting people gift cards because it feels so uninspired. But you know what? I appreciate getting gift cards from certain people because it shows me that they’ve moved on from getting me random scented products I can’t use. I mean, as long as the gift card isn’t for a perfume store or whatnot…

5. There are a few clothing and accessories stores I love, but without fail, I have to either wash or air out the clothes when I get home. While it’s often tough to buy clothes for others, if you’re buying an asthmatic that Hollister t-shirt that they loved when you passed it at the mall or that scarf from that accessories store that also smells like perfume, you can’t toss it in the wash in case they want to return it, but you can put it outside for a few hours. In the Spring, pollen might be a problem for this method for some people, but in the winter, you’re good to go.

Although you might want to make a tent of sorts over top of the item in case it snows/rains/a random bird flies by and decides it is bathroom time… Y’know. Because reasons.

Okay, I know I haven’t made your task too much easier. But hopefully, these tips help guide you to an asthma-friendly gift for that awesome asthmatic in your life. If you’re unsure, get a gift receipt so that your friend or family member knows that they’ve got choices—this saves you time in the end anyways, for any gift you’re giving.

And, in advance to the Asthma Allies reading this—thank you for being considerate! Even if I have to make an extra run to the store to do a return, knowing that people put the effort in to consider what kind of gift is both good for me and my lungs means a lot to me—and I’d hope that your gift recipient is on that same wavelength, because they should be with an awesome ally in their life like you.

Asthma.Net community: Any other tips for your gift-giving allies? Leave ‘em in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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