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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (January 16, 2017) – Romance is the name of the game on Valentine’s Day, and keeping sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes out of the mix helps put everyone more in the mood for love.

“The winter months can put a health burden on those with allergies and asthma,” says allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Keeping everyone free of allergy and asthma flare-ups helps keep the focus on romance this Valentine’s Day. Red or itchy eyes, runny noses, coughs and fatigue can ruin your celebration.”

Here are five tips from ACAAI to help make your Valentine’s Day special.

  1. Who doesn’t love a nice gift?  - If you’re considering a gift of jewelry or clothing, keep contact dermatitis (another form of eczema) in mind. Contact dermatitis is a reaction that appears when the skin encounters an irritant or an allergen. Symptoms can include a rash, blisters, itching and burning. Nickel, which is found in some jewelry, can cause a reaction on skin. If you were thinking of giving your love a wool sweater, know that wool can be an irritant for those with eczema.
  2. Thinking of snuggling in front of a fire? – A blazing fire is romantic, but anyone who suffers from asthma will likely react poorly to burning logs. Smoke is a common asthma trigger, and can bring on an asthma attack and cause difficulty breathing. Studies show secondhand smoke from cigarettes can increase asthma symptoms and worsen asthma control too. So put down the smokes and pick up a bouquet of allergy-friendly flowers, such as roses.
  3. Laughter is the best medicine – Sometimes, all it takes is a good laugh to help ease stress, and research has shown easing stress can improve allergy and asthma symptoms. It follows that lightening the mood with a good story or joke, or watching a funny show, might cause an improvement in allergy symptoms. Give it a whirl!
  4. A heart-shaped box of chocolates? – People love chocolate, but the bottom line in gifting a box of chocolates is to read ingredients closely. Chocolate often contains some of the top allergens - eggs, milk, tree nuts and peanuts. If your loved one has any food allergies, do your research before presenting them with a gift of food. Make sure it doesn’t contain any of their allergens so it will be safe for your sweetheart.
  5. Planning a quick getaway? Taking your Valentine on a road trip is a great idea, but keep some things in mind to avoid allergy and asthma flare-ups. Pack medications in a separate small bag so they'll always be close at hand. If they’re allergic to dust, consider bringing pillow and mattress covers. Early morning and late evening travel may be helpful because air quality is generally better and traffic is lighter. Book a non-smoking room and request a car that hasn’t been smoked in.

For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and asthma, or to locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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