Don’t let your allergies snuff the joy out of your holidays this year. If you’re one of the roughly 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies, then you know all too well the challenge of combating seasonal culprits such as live greenery, roasted nuts, and scented candles. For many holiday revelers, these things bring comfort and joy, but for allergy suffers, they may cause wheezing, itchy eyes and a stuffy nose – not to mention headaches, digestive upsets or skin irritations. So much for a happy holiday, right? Well, there’s good news!
This year, try switching things up. Whether you are affected personally or have friends and family members who are susceptible, you don’t have to let allergies sabotage the holiday spirit.
Believe it or not, allergies often affect otherwise healthy individuals and can surface at any age. Here are some ways for how to deal with allergies and enjoy the spirit of the season.
Trees and other live greenery
The trees and wreaths themselves might not be as problematic as the mold or pollen they may harbor. Spraying live greens with a garden hose before bringing them indoors can minimize this allergy source. Some retailers have shaking machines that physically remove many allergens from trees.
For indoor use, experts suggest placing greenery in a well-ventilated area, and limit its indoor time to no more than a week or two. Artificial trees can also cause problems if mold or dust accumulates during storage, so it’s best to wipe them with a cloth before assembly.
Do you love and cherish the embroidered stocking your grandmother made? If it was stored in a damp basement or musty attic, it could be harboring molds, dust mites and other allergens.
A better idea is to use plastic, metal or glass decorations that don’t hold dust mites like fabric can. Wash stockings, tree skirts and anything else made of fabric or any other porous materials before displaying. It is also a good idea to store them in dry plastic totes during the off-season to help keep them allergen-free.
Wood stored outdoors may be musty or moldy. Skip the fire if smoke irritates sinuses or provokes an asthma attack Instead, try replicating the effect with a gas or electric fireplace.
Holiday candles, potpourri and perfumes may cause trouble. Not only can the scents be irritating, but indoor candles also create soot. Unscented beeswax or soy candles are less likely to create problems than those made from paraffin. Go easy on strong-scented plants such as gardenias and pine wreaths. Even baking odors may trigger discomfort, so use kitchen exhaust fans vented to the outdoors.
Party Food Hazards
It’s important to be particularly mindful at potluck celebrations, since cross-contact (i.e., allergen remnants transferred via utensils or containers) happens more readily. Be sure to read labels, and if you’re susceptible, don’t eat any food that doesn’t have an ingredient list.
The risk for accidental ingestion increases with hidden allergens in readily available party foods that include nuts, shellfish, chocolate, eggs, wheat and milk. If you’re a holiday host or hostess, provide a selection of foods without these ingredients.
School parties can be disastrous for kids with food allergies, so be sure to alert your child’s teacher to these allergies before any classroom gatherings that might have potentially dangerous treats. Offer to bring treats for your child’s class to help guarantee safe snacking for everyone. Or, send acceptable party foods for your child.
To deal with allergies is to take dietary supplements, which may help fight allergic reactions. Taking vitamins, A, C and D3, along with the flavonoid quercetin, the pine-tree extract Pycnogenol, the mushroom extract AHCC, and the herb-stinging nettle are additional suggestions to help ward off allergic reactions. Try taking a daily multivitamin which contains many of the essential nutrients needed to fight of allergies.
Keep the “happy” in your holidays this year. By taking a proactive approach to the season, you can put your allergies to rest and enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.