When we the weather gets cold and things start to freeze, we all hope our allergies will get better. But 2/3rds of allergy sufferers have symptoms year-round. Even after the pollen season dies down, there are environmental triggers to deal with—things like mold, dust and pet dander. Here are some tips and things to look out for to avoid increasing problems with you allergies and asthma:

1) Part of enjoying the holidays is being outside and enjoying winter sports and activities. But if you have asthma, very cold, dry air can be a trigger. Try covering your mouth and nose with a scarf to warm the air before it hits your lungs, especially if you will be exercising!

2) During the holidays, many of us travel, be sure to pack your medicines and if you need injectable epinephrine, make sure to have two for your trip.

3) Lots of traditions swirl around the holidays, and a lot of dust does too! If you store your ornaments and artificial trees without being covered up they may be full of dust, which can cause allergies to flare. Clean them thoroughly before putting them up, and store them in air-tight boxes until next year. If you buy a real tree, know that some people have a contact skin allergy to terpene, found in the sap of trees as well as inhalant allergies to mold spores, pollen brought into the house as well.

4) The holidays often involve events where other people prepare the food. If you or your kids suffer from food allergies, be extra cautious and perhaps give your host a heads up if there are certain ingredients she needs to steer clear of. Check labels of anything that’s pre-prepared that you haven’t eaten before. And know that lots of websites have allergy-safe recipes for holiday classics! Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season! Brianne Ayers, PA-C