Tips for people with allergies and asthma to enjoy holiday gatherings

Published on October 29, 2011 at 2:46 AM · No Comments

Holiday gatherings are festive fun, but it's not easy to be the life of the party when you're sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. From the host's overpowering perfume to the nuts in the snack bowl, holiday parties can be a challenge for people with allergies and asthma.

"During the holiday season you're going to be exposed to allergens," said allergist Dr. Myron Zitt, M.D., past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "Be aware of where the problems lie so you can deal with them. And then, have a good time!"

Let your host know you'll be at the party with bells on after following these suggestions from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and its allergist members.

1. Medicate before you go: There's almost no avoiding the dusty decorations, the holiday candles, the potpourri or the perfume-doused reveler, and any of them may cause an allergic reaction. Your best bet is to take your antihistamine before you go. Find an allergist who can prescribe appropriate medication.

2. Be the designated driver: Toast your host with sparkling water. In addition to being more clear-headed and safer on the road, you'll avoid a possible reaction to ingredients, including preservatives in beer or wine. If you think you've had a reaction, it's a good idea to see an allergist to determine the cause your misery.

3. Eat smart: From the creamy dip to the gooey chocolate dessert, holiday goodies can be tempting, but may contain many common allergens, including dairy, nuts, soy and wheat. Ask your host if the munchies contain anything you're allergic to. And if you suffer from severe food allergies, always carry your injectable epinephrine.

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