Tips for Managing Your Asthma This Holiday Season

By Pul Parmar, Communications Intern, Asthma Canada

‘Tis the season to be jolly! The holidays are the time of the year with fun-filled activities, traditions, decorations, celebrations, and spending time with friends and family as the days become colder. But for people with asthma, the holiday season also comes with an onslaught of asthma triggers. Here are some tips to keep your asthma under control so you and your family can have a safe and fun holiday season!

Breathe treely!

Christmas trees contain allergens that may trigger your asthma symptoms. If you’re bringing home a real Christmas tree this holiday, hose it down and let it dry before getting it into your home to wash off the accumulated pollen.

If you’re removing your artificial tree from storage, make sure to shake off the dust and use a damp cloth to wipe the dust off your tree and the decorations like ornaments, wreaths and garlands.

Not so feast!

Discuss your food allergies with the host if you’re attending a party. Offer to bring your own allergen-free meals if the food is not allergen-friendly or if there is a risk of cross-contamination when preparing allergen-friendly meals.

If you’re hosting, keep the food labels for prepared meals so your food-allergic guests can check the ingredients. Make sure to label the ingredients for all your meals if you are serving a buffet. Keep separate serving spoons for all dishes to avoid cross-contamination.

Pharma-see you after the holidays!

Take note of pharmacy and health care centers’ reduced hours or closures during the holidays. Make sure you have enough prescribed medication to last you through the holidays.

It snot fun!

Flu is common during this time of the year. People with asthma have a higher risk of developing flu-related complications. Talk to your health care provider about getting a flu shot so you can have a safe and symptom-free holiday.

Wine not?

Components such as sulfites and histamines in alcoholic drinks may cause allergenic reactions and trigger asthma symptoms in some people with asthma. Especially red wine, which is high in histamine. Other alcoholic mixes may also contain food allergens. Consider opting for a non-alcoholic beverage.

Candle with care

Avoid strong fragrances, air sprays and scented candles that may cause an asthma flare. Consider using a battery-operated candle.

It’s okay not to party-cipate

Consider hosting a party at your place. That way you are familiar with the environment and can control exposure to potential asthma triggers. But it’s okay to decline invitations to parties or events where your asthma may be triggered by an allergen or irritant like pet dander or strong fragrances.

Most winterfull time of the year

Cold, dry air can trigger asthma symptoms. Weather fluctuations during the winter can also cause flare-ups. When you go outdoors, make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask to warm the air you breathe in.

Prepair in advance

To maintain good indoor air quality, make sure the filters are cleaned and replaced in your heating air ducts. Remove any mould and keep humidity below 50% to prevent dust mites from multiplying.

Follow these tips to have a safe and symptom-free holiday!

Don’t forget to follow your Asthma Action Plan and schedule a meeting with your health care provider before the holidays.

If you have any questions, call Asthma Canada’s Asthma and Allergy HelpLine at 1-866-787-4050 or email info@asthma.ca to connect with a CRE.