Allergies and Winter Holidays:

If you have a food allergy, holiday gatherings can be challenging, especially if you do not know the ingredient used to make each food dish or how it was prepared. Always be sure to ask about the ingredients and be mindful that cross-contamination can occur during preparation. If you’re not sure about a dish, it’s best not to eat it. If you’re not comfortable eating foods prepared by others, then bring your own snacks or eat before you arrive. If you have a food allergy, be sure to always carry your epinephrine auto-injector, just in case you have an accidental exposure.

Does your Christmas tree make you sneeze or seem to be flaring your asthma? Most people blame the tree itself, or pine, as the culprit. However, pine allergy is actually quite rare. More commonly, you could be getting irritating from a trigger such as fragrance or you are reacting to mold spores that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.   It’s best to use an artificial tree. If you really want to have the real tree, you should let the tree sit and dry in the garage for a week, or give it a quick shake before bringing it inside.

Finally, holiday travel or increased stress during this time can lead to asthma attacks. It’s important to make sure you continue to take your asthma medication as directed and have your rescue inhaler on hand in case you need it. This time of year is also cold and flu season. Viral illnesses, in addition to colder weather, can trigger asthma. If you haven’t already, make sure you get your flu shot! And remember, you should stay home if you are sick.