‘Tis the season to be jolly – and also for holiday allergies. Nobody wants to be itchy or sneezy during the holiday season. Fortunately, there are ways to identify holiday allergens and avoid them so you can enjoy this time with friends and family.
Why Do Allergies Worsen Around the Holidays?
There are likely many holiday traditions you enjoy that can harbor allergens that trigger your allergy symptoms. As Asriani Chiu, M.D., explains, “You’re in a closed-up house, the heater is on, the windows shut – that’s why indoor allergies get worse in the winter.”
Below are some common holiday allergens and what you can do to find relief.
During Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s, you’ll likely spend at least some time around seasonal foods brought from different households. This heightens the chances you’ll accidentally (or be tempted by) foods you’re allergic to.
The first step to avoiding an allergic reaction is to know what foods you’re allergic to. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat account for about 90% of all food allergy reactions. If you don’t already know what foods you’re allergic to, schedule an allergy test.
Once you know, make sure you communicate it with your friends and family. While a dish may look innocent, there’s a chance there are very small pieces of the allergen or cross-contamination. Talk to your loved ones to find out what ingredients are in what dish and what it may have come into contact with.
When you think of mold, you may think of leaky pipes or a damp basement. But mold exposure increases during the holidays because mold spores love damp evergreens. When you hang wreaths, boughs and trees, you bring the mold inside your home. In addition, decaying leaves that are tracked into the house may introduce even more mold.
If you have a mold allergy, which can be confirmed by an allergy specialist, forego fresh holiday decorations and switch to artificial ones. If this doesn’t align with your holiday plans, you can always hose off your decorations before bringing them in the house to get rid of existing spores.
For more information about holiday allergens or to schedule an appointment with an allergist, call the experts at Topeka ENT today.