The year-end holidays are all about meeting loved ones, shopping, decorating the house and having a jolly good time. Unfortunately, for many allergy sufferers, Christmas season in Australia also brings summer allergies. If you suffer from allergies, visits to family and friends’ houses leads to greater risk of exposure to indoor allergens like dust, pet dander and mould. The good news is that with a few precautions it is possible to have a fun and allergy free holiday season.
Here are 5 tips for keeping allergens at bay and enjoying an allergy free holiday season:
1. Don’t let the holiday stress get to you – While this may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘allergy prevention’, stress can worsen allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. The best way to deal with holiday stress is to be prepared for it. Have a to-do list for all that you want to accomplish during the holidays, like shopping, fun activities for the kids or trying your grandmother’s Christmas cookie recipe. But also plan ‘time-off’ for yourself such as a visit to the spa, exercise, or just relaxing with a good book at home.
2. Be watchful of those dusty Christmas decorations – Old Christmas decorations, stored in garage or attic are bound to have dust on them. For people suffering from allergies, this can trigger common dust-mite allergy symptoms like sneezing or shortness of breath. If possible let a member of your family handle the decorations. Whether you use a natural or an an artificial tree, wash it using a water hose and wait for the tree to dry out before bringing it inside. Avoid using artificial air fresheners or synthetically scented candles. Instead use candles made with essential oils and fresh flowers to scent your home.
3. Minimise exposure to allergens – In summer, the outdoor environment has higher presence of dust, dirt, ticks, pollen, and other allergens. If you haven’t already done so, the holiday season is a good time to invest in an air-purifier for your home. Carry dust mite proof bedding, dust mite proof pillow, or barrier case to avoid allergy flare-ups while travelling or staying with friends.
4. Watch what you eat – With all those tempting dishes and goodies at Christmas parties, those with food allergies need to be extra careful. While attending a Christmas dinner, check with your host on ingredients of the food being served. Better yet, inform the host of your food allergies in advance so they can make alternative food arrangements. Read the menu carefully before trying new dishes at restaurants.
5. Do a thorough summer cleaning – Clean your home thoroughly to get rid of the indoor allergens that tend to build up during the winter months, and to prepare your home for welcoming guests. Here are some anti-allergy cleaning tips-
- Use a damp microfibre cloth to dust. This will prevent the dust from becoming airborne
- Hire a professional non-toxic carpet cleaning service
- To reduce the presence of chemicals in the house use natural products available at home such as lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.
- Change / clean filters of air conditioners in the house
What are your thoughts on having an allergy free holiday season? What Christmas gifts do you give friends and family that suffer from allergies?
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