Keep yourself sneeze and wheeze-free this holiday season

Fa-la-lah-choo! Allergic to the holidays?

You may want to celebrate the holidays in style this year, but what happens when your allergies and asthma make you feel like the Grinch? You may not even know what’s causing the extra sniffling, sneezing and itchy eyes.

“Two thirds of allergy sufferers have symptoms year-round, so it’s not just a matter of the first freeze hitting and your symptoms disappearing,” says allergist Sean Brady, M.D., of UBMD Internal Medicine. “Even after the pollen season dies down, there are environmental triggers like mold, dust and pet dander. And winter holidays can bring a whole new set of triggers.”

The following are some tips that Dr. Brady would like to share to help you steer clear of allergic triggers that can surface during the holidays:

Half the fun of the winter holidays is being outside – caroling, building snowmen, sledding. But if you have asthma, cold, dry air can be a trigger. If you’re heading outside and it’s very cold, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face hat particularly if you’ll be exercising. And when you come back in to warm up it is important to realize that fireplaces are also a common asthma trigger.

If you’re traveling and have allergies or asthma, pack your medicines. Some hotels even offer allergy-free rooms. If you’re allergic to dust mites, bring your allergy-blocking bedding. If you need injectable epinephrine, make sure you have two for your trip.

Many traditions swirl around the holidays along with lots of dust. If you store ornaments, decorations, and artificial trees in the attic without being covered, they may be full of dust, which can cause allergies to flare. Clean them thoroughly before putting them up, and store them in airtight boxes for next year when the holidays are over. Also, if you’re buying a real tree, realize that some people have contact skin allergies to terpene, found in tree sap, as well as inhalant allergies to mold spores and pollen from fresh greenery.

The holidays often involve events where other people prepare the food. If you or your family members suffer from food allergies, you may want to give the host a heads up to steer clear of certain ingredients. And if you are preparing something, there are many websites that have allergy-safe recipes for holiday classics.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, see a board-certified allergist who is trained to diagnose and treat your symptoms, and work with you to create an individual action plan.

Article Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

WNY Resource:
Sean Brady, M.D. is board certified in allergy and immunology practicing at UBMD Internal Medicine, 1020 Youngs Road, Williamsville, NY 14221. To make an appointment with Dr. Brady call (716) 961-9900 and visit














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 Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.