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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (November 26, 2018) – Holidays and stress go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. But what if you could reduce the overall stress that comes with the holidays? Maybe you could also cut down your allergy and asthma symptoms.
“Studies show stress can cause a number of negative health effects, including causing more symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers,” says allergist Todd Mahr, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “It makes sense that if you want to make your holidays more fun and less challenging you might focus on ways to bring peace and wellness to your household.”
ACAAI offers four tips to help you stay calm and ease sniffling, sneezing and wheezing this holiday season.
1. Remember to exercise: Exercise helps you maintain your emotional balance but exercising in cold weather may make asthma symptoms worse. If symptoms like coughing, wheezing, tightness in your chest or shortness of breath occur when you exercise in cold weather, they may indicate undiagnosed asthma. An allergist can diagnose asthma and work with you to control symptoms. Other tips for avoiding triggers in cold weather include:
- Warm up with gentle exercises for about 15 minutes before you start more intense exercise.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask when you exercise in cold weather.
- Take medicine as recommended by your allergist to prevent and treat asthma symptoms.
- Consider moving your exercise program indoors if the temperature is below freezing.
2. Re-think that calming candle: Although many people light a candle to relax and to light up winter holidays, scented candles can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Wood burning fireplaces, while lovely to look at are also a trigger. Consider a flameless candle and an electric fireplace which have the calming look and feel, but no scent or smoke to make you cough or wheeze.
3. Keep the flu at bay: You love your friends and relatives – and enjoy seeing them during the holidays. But re-consider all the hugs and especially kisses. During flu season, flu can be passed along when you are up close and personal with anyone who has it. Nothing can make the holidays more stressful than having the flu – especially for those with asthma. Make sure you get a flu vaccine before flu and holiday seasons are in full swing, and always wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Although some people who have egg allergy have been told not to get the flu shot, years of studies have shown the vaccine is safe and does not contain enough egg protein to cause an allergic reaction, even in patients with severe egg allergy. No special precautions for the vaccine are required for those with egg allergy.
4. Be the hostess with the most-ess: Even though entertaining can be stressful, if you or your kids have food allergies, knowing what’s in every dish will calm some nerves. If you plan to gather with friends and family and want to make sure you avoid food allergens, consider inviting the group to your house. As the host, you’ll also want to make sure your guests know the ingredients in the dishes you’re serving. And if it’s pot luck, let guests know what items they need to steer clear of.
Life’s too short to struggle with allergies or asthma. Find answers with an allergist. Allergists are trained to diagnose and treat your symptoms, and to work with you to create an individual action plan. To find an allergist in your area, use the ACAAI allergist locator tool.