Don't let hidden allergy and asthma triggers ruin your holiday cheer. Knowing where your triggers can hide during this festive season can reduce your chances of an asthma attack (or flare). Review your Asthma Action Plan and always keep your emergency medicines with you at all times.
1. Cold, Dry Air
Cold air is an asthma trigger. When heading out into the cold, wrap a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth. When you breathe through a scarf, it warms up the air before it gets to your lungs. This helps prevent the cold air from irritating your airways and triggering an asthma attack.
Ask your doctor about using your quick-relief inhaler before you go outside. Also, protect your inhaler from the cold by carrying it in an insulated bag or inside your coat or jacket pocket.
2. Fireplaces and Smoke
Smoke from burning wood contains small airborne particles that contribute to indoor air pollution. Small particles in the air can pass through your nose or mouth and get into your lungs. The particles can make asthma worse and increase the risk of having an asthma attack.
Avoid outdoor and indoor wood fires when possible. If you want to light a fire in the fireplace, it's best to use a gas fireplace. Avoid wood fires when possible. Use a gas fireplace with doors rather than a screen and make sure vents are working properly.
3. Scents of the Season
Along with the sights and sounds of the season come the scents of the holidays. Many people and shops try to capture the aroma of the holiday by lighting candles, diffusing oils or hanging scented decorations. In crowded places, perfumes and colognes might be an issue. Incense is often burned at religious services.
Shop online to avoid stores with scented displays. Stay on the outside of the crowd at big parties or consider hosting a smaller celebration at your own home. To make your home smell great naturally, bake items that contain vanilla, cinnamon or citrus. You can boil orange peels in water on the stove. Natural scents tend to irritate the lungs less than synthetic ones. But scents affect everyone differently, so find the scent that works best for you, or go scent free.
4. Decked Out Halls
Hose down your live tree or wreath to remove mold, pollen and dirt. Let it dry for a few days in a garage, or outside if it’s warm enough, before you bring it inside.
Artificial trees and decorations stored in an attic, garage or basement can have mold and dust on them. Be sure to wipe down the decorations and wash the tree stand.
Cardboard boxes and open bags allow dust to accumulate. Switch to storage containers that keep dust mites out of your stored decorations. If you have room, store your decorations and artificial tree in a temperature-controlled part of your home to cut down on moisture.
5. Hugs and Kisses
We love to visit with friends and family during the holidays. But those hugs and kisses can easily spread germs. Protect yourself from the flu with healthy habits. Get your flu shot – remember it takes two weeks to take full effect. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Don't share makeup, food, dishes or eating utensils. Avoid people who are sick.
6. Furry Friends
During the winter, pets tend to stay inside more. This can mean more fur and dander present in indoor spaces.
The holidays can be a time for getting a new pet. This can be a surprise when you arrive for a visit.
Talk with your doctor about pretreating with allergy medicine before you arrive at someone's home where pets are present if you have a pet allergy.