West River ENT & Allergy

5 Tips for Planning around COVID, Allergies, and Asthma this Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner! There is certainly a lot to look forward to: family and friends, delicious seasonal foods, fun holiday decorations, winter activities, and more. However, the holidays are not without problems for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. Plus, COVID-19 is still a concern for many people. Here is how to navigate the holidays while being aware of COVID, allergies, and asthma.

  1. Keep your (social) distance.
    Although the CDC has updated COVID guidelines since the virus first started making its rounds a couple of years ago, physical distancing is still an important part of protecting yourself from COVID-19.
    Talk to your family and friends ahead of social gatherings and decide what the expectations will be around physical distancing. If you and all of the other attendees are fully vaccinated and at low risk, you may be A-OK with hugging this holiday season. On the other hand, you may feel more comfortable sending hugs and kisses across the (social) distance this year if you or your family members are part of the high-risk population.
  2. Watch out for food allergies.
    Delicious food is a big part of holiday celebrations! Whether you’re indulging in turkey with cranberry sauce, a Christmas ham, latkes and kugel, sugar cookies shaped like snowmen, or any number of other delicious holiday foods, you need to be aware of food allergies.
    If you or an immediate family member has food allergies, consider alerting your host in advance. It’s also a good idea to bring one or two dishes that are safe for you to eat. Be sure to have your epinephrine injector on hand in case you experience an allergic reaction. If you are hosting, let your guests know what is in the dishes you’re serving.
  3. Avoid smoke.
    You probably don’t think of smoke when you think of the holiday season. However, between scented candles and crackling fires, smoke can interfere with your holiday joy if it triggers your asthma. Avoid anything that produces smoke. Aerosols like air fresheners and artificial snow can also be an irritant to airways.
  4. Be aware of tree and dust allergies.
    While the smell of a Christmas tree can be intoxicating, it isn’t so welcome for people who are allergic to the terpene found in the sap of trees. You may also be allergic to mold that might linger in trees or wreaths. Opting for artificial trees and wreaths can resolve this issue.
    You should be aware of dust allergies too, which can occur year-round. Those artificial trees and wreaths, as well as all of your other holiday decorations, can accumulate dust while they’re in storage throughout the year.
  5. Make a plan for allergies and asthma.
    Between dusty decorations, holiday foods, perfumed friends, and moldy leaves still on the ground, your chances of encountering allergy or asthma triggers are pretty high during the holiday season. Keep your allergy and asthma medications on hand, and talk to your allergist about the steps you can take to avoid triggers and what to do if you experience a reaction.

To learn more about how you can enjoy the holiday season and keep issues with COVID, allergies, and asthma to a minimum, we welcome you to contact us at West River ENT & Allergy today. We are eager to assist you.

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