Whether you live near or far, returning home for the holidays can be a nostalgic time. But for those with allergies and asthma, celebrating the season with family and friends can be anything but enjoyable.
To help deck the halls with holiday cheer instead of tissues and allergy medications, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has put together tips to help you understand what can trigger your symptoms when returning home for the holidays.
• Even if you’ve never before had a problem with your grandma’s cat, you may find yourself suddenly sneezing and wheezing. These sudden symptoms are known as the Thanksgiving Effect, which earned its name after visiting relatives and college students, heading home for holiday breaks, suddenly noticed an allergic reaction to their pet. Allergies can strike at any age, meaning being a houseguest in a pet’s home can be bothersome. If you notice you are having an allergic reaction, ask the host to keep the pet away from where you will be sleeping. Be sure to take your allergy medications and wash your hands immediately after petting your new furry friend.
• Pass the sneezy pudding – Festive feasts are a staple of this time of year but they can contain several health hazards if you have a food allergy. Be sure to check ingredient labels and don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones how the meal was prepared.
• If you find yourself sneezing around the Christmas tree, wreaths and garland, you might be allergic to terpene.
• Before you travel home for the holidays, pack wisely. Be sure you take along allergy medications or schedule an appointment with your allergist before you leave.