Wintertime Triggers, Part 2 of 3

“…But the fire is so delightful.”

Hello, and welcome to Part 2 of the 3 Part series about Wintertime allergy & asthma concerns. This post is going to focus mainly on Christmas and Holiday related triggers, because we are rapidly approaching that time of the year! Very rapidly. As in “4 short days from now” rapidly.

Well, if you “cook” anything like I do and frequently turn to candles and aerosol sprays to cover up the aroma of your most recent charred disaster you might want to consider any asthmatic guests before blasting the air with dangerous chemicals or lighting the wick/fuse of a soot and smoke producing mini bomb. The fix: think green. Here’s a few ideas from Oregon Environmental Council in their article “Safer Scents: Air freshener alternatives:” pomanders (clove filled oranges), simmering pots, and odor absorbing houseplants (see this article for more info). If you’re “domestically challenged” and can kill the hardiest of plants then you can give them as gifts after they have served their purpose.

Another potentially dangerous trigger as far as guests are concerned is food allergies. According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, only 4% of the population have food allergies (that’s 1 in 25, or 12 million Americans), but the incidence is highest in young children (1 in 17 among those under age 3) and result in over 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year. So take that into consideration to avoid a harrowing ride in the Band-Aid Buggy during “the hap-happiest season of all.” If your guest list is short just ask each guest, and write any down if they do so you can avoid preparing anything potentially hazardous. If you’re one of those brave souls inviting half the town, then be sure to label each dish with the name and ingredients. If you’re a guest tell your host/hostess ahead of time, or offer to bring allergen-free dishes, and have your epinephrine injection kit with you at all times.

Next up is for those Christmas decorators out there, even those who don’t deck the halls in full-blown Clark Griswold style. Live Christmas trees are covered in triggers- from the molds growing on the bark, to all that leftover pollen. The alternative is an artificial tree but (along with the ornaments and decorations) they can be covered in both mold and dust thanks to being stored for a year. The fix: pack decorations and tree in an air tight box (not cardboard) that can be sealed tightly. When you go to unpack them, let them air out first either outside or in the garage, and dust them off thoroughly before bringing them inside.

I will leave you with one final thing tip: most clinics and Doctor’s offices have irregular business hours during the holidays, so double check your medicine cabinet and stock-up before hand. Check back with us on Thursday for the final installment of this series!

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