Navigating the holiday season with allergies

Tim Robbins
3 min readNov 18, 2020

Getting out and about during the holiday season presents certain challenges for those living with allergies. Whether it is a trip to the mall shopping for presents or traveling to spend time with friends or families, here’s a few tips to help you breathe easy through the holiday season.

Burning candles and scented sprays
What’s more festive than the smells of evergreen, cinnamon and cranberries during this time of the year? However, the artificial scents of the holiday season can bring a challenge to those living with allergies and asthma. In your own home, you can create the visual ambiance of candlelight using LED candles that generate no smoke. As for scented sprays, a full-size room air purifier can take care of allergens in the air while still allowing the scents to emanate. You can also go natural with smells by leaving a saucepan with spices like cinnamon and cloves on the stove without introducing the same number of allergens into the air.

Careful snacking
Whether it’s staying away from airline peanuts or avoiding strange buffets on the road, anyone with food allergies should carefully choose where they dine and how they snack. Since you can’t anticipate every restaurant that will be available on the road, pack a few snacks you know you can eat in case you get hungry and no other option is available.

Chef directions
Don’t be shy, especially if you are visiting family or loved ones preparing meals, to let the cook know what kind of food allergies impact you. You can print out a food allergy alert card that can be shared with restaurant chefs when dining out as strange restaurants.

Emergency contacts
Your local doctor’s office or even hospital may have an emergency contact on file, but you will want to keep something on your person who knows your medical history in the event of an emergency. Also, you should make sure to have contact information for your allergist on hand to avoid such a problem if possible. Likewise, make sure you have insurance information on hand.

Whether you plan to travel on roadways or through airports, you are likely to be exposed to plenty of germs. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends getting flu shots and other proper vaccinations before you begin your trip this year.

Refill your pill case
Also, as you venture far from your local pharmacist, go ahead and stock up on whatever over-the-counter or prescription medications that you rely on to help you get through an allergy attack. The last thing you want is to be grasping for relief and finding an empty pill bottle as you realize the Fexofenadine has run out.

Carry-on necessities
If you do travel by plane, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology remind you to make sure and pack any emergency drugs like an auto-injectable epinephrine in your carry-on luggage, rather than stowing it with checked bags.

Accessorize properly
A medical bracelet goes with any outfit if you are worried about severe allergic reactions that require medical attention. This will let paramedics who won’t have access to your records know what treatments will be safe and which pharmaceutical options need to be kept away.

Asthma action plan
Anyone with severe asthma, including allergy-related asthma, should keep a written action plan on hand with proper instructions on what medication you may need. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has printable forms that can be filled in with all the proper information and directions so you don’t have to offer instruction through your gasps.

Other people’s pets
Stay away from them. If you travel by air or train, ask if pets are allowed on board and make sure you won’t be seated near any.

Maintain your vehicle
If you plan on a long road trip this holiday season, remember you will spend many more straight hours in your car than you likely do in an entire work week. Especially if you have respiratory allergies, get your air condition system cleaned and serviced so you will breathe clean air as you drive to your destination.

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Tim Robbins

Digital Marketer, Entrepreneur, DIYer and Dad. Holly Springs, North Carolina. Co: Beer: