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Health Awareness

Keeping the Holidays Safe for Asthma and Allergy Patients

The holidays present special dangers to asthma and allergy sufferers, says Dr. Avi Deener, who practices pediatric and adult asthma, allergy and immunology at the WESTMED Medical Group in White Plains and Rye.

“People are often more carefree around the holidays and, perhaps, less mindful than they usually are of what might trigger symptoms,” Dr. Deener explains. “Take a moment to think of the potential hazards that the holidays may present to you or your child.”

  • He suggests, ”If dust is a problem for you, when visiting family and friends, bring your own allergen-free pillow, or at least allergy covers to protect from dust mite exposure.” Also, choose glass or metal ornaments for your Christmas tree because they are easier to clean. Cloth ornaments attract dust.
  • If mold is an issue for you, then the tree itself could cause problems. “Have your vendor shake out the tree with a special machine to get the mold off, and be sure that it’s totally dry before bringing it inside,” Dr. Deener says.
  • Your host may have acquired a pet since your last visit. If pet dander triggers your allergies or asthma, be sure to ask the family you’re visiting if they have a household pet. “If they have a dog or cat, see if your host can keep it outside during your stay or at least out of the room that you’ll be sleeping in,” he advises. You also may want to ask your doctor if there are any temporary changes to your usual medications that s/he might recommend.
  • Enjoying the foods of the holidays is often the most fun part of the season, but remember: Homemade foods don’t typically come with ingredient lists, and the family member or friend doing the cooking or baking may not be aware of specific food allergies that might be a problem for you. A tip from Dr. Deener for traveling with little ones is “ to bring your own allergy-free treats so that everyone can enjoy the holidays safely”.
  • Cold air is a frequent asthma trigger. Be sure to dress warmly and keep your face covered in blustery weather.

By respecting triggers for asthma that Dr. Deener mentions, the holidays will be happier days for everyone.

WESTMED allergists and immunologists Dr. Avi Deener and Dr. Laura Mechanic see patients at 210 Westchester Avenue, White Plains. In addition, Dr. Deener has office hours at 1 Theall Road, Rye, and Dr. Mechanic has office hours at 73 Market Street at Ridge Hill in Yonkers. To reach either physician’s office, call (914) 831-6850

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