Stay allergy and asthma-safe during the holidays!

The holidays are a great time for gathering and spending time with family and friends, but there are also several potential asthma and allergy triggers to be aware of. Whether you’re staying home or traveling this holiday season, consider avoiding these triggers and practicing these tips to keep you as healthy as possible:

  1. Temperature changes: Even in Arizona, we can see dropping temperatures around the holiday season that can trigger asthma. If your asthma is bothered by the cold, we recommend wearing a face covering, scarf, or mask to help keep the air you inhale warmer.
  1. Smoke and Fireplaces: Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces can be a trigger for many people with respiratory problems such as asthma. If you wish to have a fire indoors, we recommend using a gas fireplace with doors (instead of a screen) and checking the vents regularly.
  1. Scents and Fragrances: Everyone loves the smell of pine, cinnamon, and gingerbread during the holiday season! But strong fragrances can flare both asthma and rhinitis. It’s best to keep these to a minimum!
  1. Live Christmas trees: Contrary to popular belief, allergy to pine or evergreen is quite rare. However, live Christmas trees also contain mold spores that can cause significant asthma or allergy symptoms. If your family wishes to have a live Christmas tree, we recommend hosing the tree down and letting it dry outdoors before bringing it in the home.
  1. Dust: Taking holiday decorations out of storage places or containers that they have been in for the last year can expose people to dust and irritants. We recommend wearing a mask while removing items from storage attics or areas and dusting off decorative items. Even fake trees or foliage should be dusted off, and fabric should be washed before display or use in the home.
  1. Pet hair: Our furry animals may be indoors more during the colder months. Be sure to groom pets regularly, and having a vacuum and air purifier with a HEPA filter can help reduce allergens in the air.
  1. Get your flu and Covid-19 vaccines! Getting your flu shot and Covid-19 vaccines or booster doses can help protect you from other respiratory illnesses which can also flare your asthma.
  1. Keep taking your medications as directed. If you are traveling, be sure to take all the medications you may need with you! If you need refills, it’s best to call your doctor’s office a few weeks before, as this is a very busy time of year and you do not want to wait until the last minute!
  1. Maintain caution about food allergies, especially when at holiday gatherings. Remember to carry your epinephrine auto-injector.
  1. Hand washing is still one of the best things you can do to limit the spread of viruses and germs, which can also trigger asthma.