Don't Let Asthma Get in the Way of Holiday Fun
"It's the most wonderful time of the year... It's the happiest season of all... With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call... There'll be parties for hosting... Marshmallows for toasting... and caroling out in the snow. There'll be much mistletoe-ing... and hearts will be glowing, when loved ones are near..."
Yes, it's that time of year... and as the lyrics in the old Andy Williams song quoted above describe, there are many happy activities and times to be had. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of greater risk of allergy and asthma attacks and poor health if you have asthma. There are so many more opportunities to come into contact with different substances and different situations that may trigger your symptoms.
With a few simple steps, though, you can take special care to lower your risks and maintain a positive health status all through the holidays. So, here are a few tips that you may find helpful.
Be careful with decorations
If you're unpacking holiday wreaths, Christmas tree ornaments, artificial Christmas trees, and other decor items, be aware that they may be dusty when you take them out. Be sure to wipe them down before using them to keep dust from circulating. Also, packing anything you save from year to year in airtight totes can help protect them from collecting as many irritants.
Christmas trees, both cut and live varieties, can harbor dust, pollen and mold spores. If you are sensitive to any of these substances, an artificial tree might be a better choice for you. Of, if like me, you just have to have a real tree, then be sure to stock up on your allergy medicine and make sure your rescue inhaler is filled.
Candles can help set the season mood, but if you're allergic to perfumes or their smoke, they may affect your ability to breathe. Think about displaying them unlit or look for the battery-operated kind. That way, you can still enjoy the ambiance of a wax candle, less the smoke and perfume.
Prepare to come into contact with new allergens
In your own home, you know what triggers are present and how to avoid them. But when you visit other people's homes for holiday parties, this may not be the case. You may come into contact with triggers such as:
- Secondhand smoke
- Fireplace or wood stove smoke
- Perfumes and other scents
- Chemical fumes from carpeting or cleaning solutions
- Pet dander
- Cold air, if you're joining in outdoor activities
It's hard to anticipate everything you may face in an unfamiliar environment, so come prepared to make a hasty exit, if needed. Also, be sure to bring allergy medication, if needed, and to have your rescue inhaler close at hand.
Cleaning isn't worth triggering an asthma attack
When you have visitors over to your house for holiday fun, it's natural to go on a cleaning frenzy. And there's nothing wrong with that. But cleaning can stir up all kinds of dust. And the chemicals in cleaning products can be irritating enough to trigger asthma symptoms.
So, be careful what you do and what you use. Try using natural and unscented cleaning products. Vinegar, baking soda and water can often get the same results as those more expensive and more irritating designer cleaning products.
The holiday season can be a wonderful, magical time with family and friends. Just because you have asthma, there is no reason you cannot join in all, or at least most of, the fun. Just follow the tips above to help you stay healthy. And remember, getting enough sleep, eating healthy and sticking with your medication regime can also ensure a happy, healthy holiday season.
Have you developed a new food allergy in the last 5 years?