The holidays are a time for warmth, family, fun, and goodwill. However, for asthma sufferers, they can also be a time of triggers, symptoms, and flare-ups. Before going into the holiday season, it is important that you understand common holiday asthma triggers and how you can prevent them.
Common Holiday Asthma Triggers
Not sure what to watch out for this holiday season? We have prepared a list of asthma triggers that tend to be an issue during this time of year. Let’s take a look.
Scented candles are popular in the winter because they provide a cozy ambiance that many people enjoy. However, some candles are laden with chemicals that cause not only sinus problems but lung problems as well. Scented candles act as a trigger for many people with asthma and are best avoided all year long.
By the same token, holiday parties are often graced by men and women wearing musky perfumes and colognes. Coming in close contact with heavy fragrances can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
If you enjoy decorating your home for the holidays, you know the drill of dragging decorations from the attic that have been collecting dust all year. Ingesting this dust can irritate your lungs and act as a trigger for your asthma.
Holiday greenery, whether real or fake, often triggers asthma with its spicy scent or its natural allergens. For asthma sufferers, greenery is typically best in moderation.
Changes in temperature
Depending on the climate you live in, rapid fluctuations in temperature can impact your lung health. Some people are more susceptible to cold weather, while others are sensitive to hot weather. Whatever the case, keep an eye on your local weather and plan accordingly.
Fireplaces are another source of holiday coziness and comfort. However, excessive smoke can cause coughing, difficulty breathing, and other discomforts. If you have asthma, it is extremely important that you keep the amount of smoke you ingest as low as possible.
With the temperature dropping, many pet owners prefer to keep their pets inside most of the time. Since pet fur and dander are very common asthma triggers, the increase in exposure to your pet can often trigger a flare-up.
Tips for Avoiding Holiday Asthma Triggers
Now that you know what triggers you should avoid, how can you combat them? Fortunately, the solutions are fairly simple.
Keep scents to a minimum.
It might require a little holiday sacrifice on your part, but try your best to avoid scented candles, holiday lotions and perfumes, and rich, spicy scents.
Groom your pets.
If you are a pet owner, make sure you clean your pets regularly, especially if they spend a lot of time indoors. This will cut down on fur and dander, which will also improve your indoor air quality.
Keep your home clean and organized.
Wash your cabinets, sweep your floors, clean your carpets and upholstery, and put things away. Holidays are a busy time of year, and the foot traffic in your home often increases. Keeping things clean helps combat the extra dirt being tracked in.
Holiday decor, parties, and extra knick-knacks all contribute to extra dust. Avoid this simple asthma trigger by dusting often and thoroughly.
How Else Can You Care for Your Asthma?
In addition to avoiding holiday asthma triggers, you can do the following things all year long to help keep your asthma in check.
Stay in contact with your doctor.
The most important thing you can do for your asthma is to communicate with your doctor regularly. During the holidays and the whole year long, make sure you are scheduling regular visits to your doctor and keeping him/her aware of your triggers and symptoms.
Create an asthma action plan.
An asthma action plan is a written plan that helps you keep track of your asthma flare-ups, symptoms, triggers, correlations between attacks, etc. It provides valuable information that you and your doctor can use to better understand how your asthma works.
Enlist the help of an asthma app.
Asthma apps are a helpful tool for taking lung tests, logging data and keeping track of important information.
Aluna is an innovative, scientifically-accurate, and portable spirometry exam and asthma management platform paired with a mobile game kids love. Developed by four asthmatic UC Berkeley grads with guidance from the world’s leading pediatric pulmonologists, Aluna seeks to shed light on childhood asthma by providing better data for doctors and parents while coaching kids to develop good asthma management habits.