'Tis the Season for Runny Noses and Watery Eyes

Make gifts a sneeze-free experience this holiday season by avoiding asthma, allergy triggers

(RxWiki News) The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has made a list and checked it twice.

Don't worry if you've been naughty or nice this holiday season. The ACAAI has you covered if you suffer allergies or asthma. The team's allergist members offer these gift-giving tips for the sneezy-wheezy set:

  • Go light on edibles or avoid food gifts altogether. Food allergies lurk in a number of holiday snacks and treats, from that nut-filled fruitcake to wheat-filled cookies. Why not give a gift card to the recipient's favorite restaurant instead?
  • Jewelry may sound like a safe bet, but might not look so nice if the nickel found in a lot of costume jewelry causes welts and irritates the skin of someone allergic. Consider a plastic-band watch or something in 18-karat gold if money isn't an issue.
  • Puppies and kittens are cute, but only if you can see them clearly! Pet dander can cause sneezing and itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. How about a cute, fluffy stuffed animal instead? (Just be sure to wash it once in a week in hot water to avoid other types of allergens.)
  • Pass on those poinsettias. Sure, these beautiful red blooms practically scream "Christmas," but a lot of folks will be screaming from the allergies these blossoms rile, especially those with a latex allergy since the plant is in the rubber tree family. Try roses instead if you're set on giving flowers.
  • Perfumes, candles, soaps and lotions might make a great gift for someone in need of some smell-good, but these items can cause rashes and sneezing. Try allergen-free products as a more nose-and-eye-friendly alternative.
  • Clothing is a risky bet, but especially avoid angora or wool sweaters since these will irritate those with eczema. Try something made of 100 percent cotton instead.

Asthma and allergies are highly treatable conditions, but nothing puts a damper on the holidays like a flare-up of either.

The best way to treat allergies and reduce symptoms is to try and avoid what causes them in the first place. This is vital for food and drug allergies. Prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroids) and antihistamines are also available to treat allergies.

Asthma, a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, is best treated by avoiding "triggers" that cause attacks or flare-ups. Inhaled corticosteroids and various other medicines are the best line of defense once a flare-up occurs.

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Review Date: 
December 3, 2010