During the holidays, it's quite common to find that your allergies get worse... even if it's cold outside and pollen is your main allergy trigger. The truth is, there are many other possible allergens you can be exposed to during the holiday season.
But it is possible to have an allergen-free holiday, if you put a little effort into it. Staying symptom free is well worth the time and energy you must spend. Here are a few tips to help you:
First of all, keep taking--or start taking--your allergy medicine as prescribed. Don't wait until you start to have symptoms. Act preventively.
If you're traveling for the holidays, plan ahead to make sure you have the medicine you need. If you're flying, it's a good idea to have a note from your doctor or a written prescription, so that you can bring your medications with you on the plane. If you'll be away from home when your supply of medicine runs out, ask the pharmacy to give you an early refill if your insurance will allow it.
Ensure that your decorations are joyful, rather than agents of misery. Holiday decorations are usually filled with dust and sometimes mold, especially if they're stored in damp and dusty environments like garages, attics, and basements. So, when you take them out, clean them outdoors if you can, or wash cloth ornaments and decorations in warm, soapy water if possible. Better yet, get someone else to do it!
Get a Christmas tree that is allergy-friendly. Artificial trees are best, of course, but if you're like me, and Christmas just isn't Christmas without a live tree, then at least make sure you get one that won't make your allergies a lot worse. Christmas trees that are cut early and stored in moist conditions before you buy them can be filled with mold spores.
So, buy a fresh cut tree, if you can, as mold is not usually as much of a problem in those cases. You can also use a leaf blower on it before you bring it indoors, as this can help get rid of any mold spores that may be on the trunk. Keep the tree watered during the holidays, to help avoid it drying out too much. Take it outdoors as soon as you can bear it after the holiday.
Minimize your exposure to wood smoke. Wood fires can be cozy and warm during holiday celebrations, but the smoke can be irritating to your airways and may trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. So avoid it if you can. And, if you have asthma, make sure you always have your quick-relief inhaler handy.
So, you see, it doesn't take a huge effort to stay healthy during the holidays. Believe me, your nose, eyes, and airways will thank you!
Published On: December 18, 2007