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If you have asthma and/or allergies, you might be a little hesitant to fully engage in all the holiday cheer. While family and friends are out merrymaking, you must wonder, will scented candles or the smell of pine from a Christmas tree trigger your asthma or allergies? Or if you have food allergies, are there seasonal foods you should avoid?
In this article, we explore all elements of the holidays. Whether you have allergies, asthma, or both, we hope these tips will help you safely enjoy this time of the year.
Looking Out for Allergies on Thanksgiving
Holiday eating can be a huge risk for food allergy sufferers. From holiday side dishes to mystery cookies served at holiday parties, the food may look delicious, but is it worth eating? Here are some tips for navigating holiday meals:
The holidays are tied with certain scents like pine, baking cookies, holly leaves and seasonal berries. If you can’t make all these scents happen in real life, then you might thing a scented candle is the next best thing.
Unfortunately, scented candles can lead to asthma attacks. It’s even possible for a person with allergies to be agitated by the smell of candles. Candles, especially scented ones, can release toxic soot and petrochemicals that can aggravate the respiratory tract.
If you or a loved one deal with allergies and/or asthma related to scented candles, then follow these steps to enjoy a happy and fragrant holiday season:
If you celebrate Christmas, then no decorating is complete without the home’s centerpiece: the Christmas tree. If you and your loved ones can’t get enough of the real thing, you could be inviting allergens into your home and your life, says the ACAAI.
There’s the tree sap’s terpene, dust and mold to worry about triggering an allergy attack. The strong evergreen smell can also be problematic. It’s best to safeguard yourself in these ways:
Caroling, ice skating, making snowmen…there are so many wintry activities to do around the holidays. Your lungs prefer for air to be warm and humidified (the job of your nose!) but cold, dry winter air can make breathing harder for some asthma patients.
If you have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, then outdoor winter activities could leave you symptomatic. You may have shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness and wheezing after about five minutes in the cold. If it takes longer for your symptoms to show up, you can still typically expect them to manifest within 20 minutes. If you experience chest pain, you’re likely having a severe reaction and need emergency medical care.
Here’s how you can avoid pain and discomfort from exercise-induced bronchoconstriction this winter:
Few things bring on holiday cheer more than a roaring fire on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, breathing in smoky air can lead to shortness of breath for those with asthma. Here are some recommendations from the ACAAI for easier breathing:
The holidays can be a stressful time. Pay attention to your stress level which can sometimes exacerbate allergic symptoms or lead to an asthma attack.
We want you to enjoy the holiday season and its activities, so please reach out to us at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center if you have concerns about asthma or allergies this year. We’re a Charlotte-based medical center that offers treatment and management of both allergies and asthma. Whether you have common allergies or uncommon ones like latex sensitivity, sinus disease, insect allergies and even drug or food allergies, we’re here to help.
We have offices across North Carolina and one in South Carolina, so you can set up an appointment at a location most convenient to you. Contact us to book your appointment today. We look forward to hearing from you. Happy Holidays!
For more tips to reduce the potential for allergens in your home during the holiday season, check out this article from The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).