Visiting the homes of friends and family this holiday season? You'll want to avoid exposure to triggers of breathing trouble, such as pet dander, pollen or mold from a live tree, smoke from logs on the fire and lingering dust from stored ornaments. And don't forget about scented candles and perfume!
Reminding family and friends of your asthma or allergy triggers before the visit can help. Also follow these holiday tips from asthma and allergy organizations:
Treat Indoor Trees
- Before bringing a live tree inside, use a leaf blower to remove visible pollen grains, which appear as a yellowish tinge on the trunk and needles. Certain evergreens, such as junipers and cedar, may still be pollinating.
- Wipe a live tree trunk thoroughly with a solution of lukewarm water and diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water) to eliminate any mold.
- If you're purchasing an artificial Christmas trees, avoid those coated with sprayed-on "snow," because it can aggravate symptoms.
Mind Your Meds
- When traveling away from home, bring your asthma or allergy medications and equipment (such as a spacer or nebulizer).
- Keep your insurance card and extra prescriptions from your doctor on hand.
- Carry a written action plan and a peak flow meter if you have asthma so loved ones know what to do in an emergency.
Bring Your Own (Hypoallergenic) Bedding
If you'll be staying in a hotel or someone's home, bring your own hypoallergenic slipcovers to help protect against dust mites, mold spores and irritating chemicals used in fabrics.
Escape from Strong Scents
Limit or eliminate scented candles, potpourri, air fresheners, plant arrangements and holiday baking with strong odors.
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Say ‘Bah Humbug!’ to Allergy, Asthma Triggers. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/allergist/news/New/Pages/avoiding-holiday-asthma-allergy-triggers.aspx Accessed on Dec 1, 2011.
American Lung Association. Surviving the holidays. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/surviving-the-holidays-asthma.html Accessed on Dec 1, 2011.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Holiday Allergies. Available at: http://aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8⊂=16&cont=51 Accessed on Dec 1, 2011.