Six Ways to Avoid Allergies, Asthma this Holiday Season

23 November 2015

Six Ways to Avoid Allergies, Asthma this Holiday Season


Tips for preventing symptoms while staying with loved ones




This holiday season can gift you with more than you’ve wished for if you have allergies and asthma. Stress from the holidays, traveling and staying with family and friends can weaken your immune system. Being in these different situations can also mean coming in contact with allergens that can spur sudden allergy and asthma attacks.




Even briefly traveling home for the holidays can trigger symptoms, causing you to feel miserable this holiday season.




To help Reno/Sparks, NV locals stay healthy this holiday season, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has compiled a list of the six most popular allergy and asthma triggers. I have included this list in the below.




Reno/Sparks, NV – The holiday season can gift you with more than you’ve wished for if you have allergies and asthma. Holiday staples, such as Christmas trees, menorahs and poinsettia plants can cause symptoms. Staying with loved ones during the season can also present you with the unwanted gift of sneeze.




“Traveling home for the holidays can weaken your immune system,” said allergist Dr. Shapiro & Dr. Lokshin. “And briefly staying in a new environment can mean being exposed to new allergens, which can spur unwanted allergy and asthma attacks.”




To help you avoid allergy and asthma symptoms this holiday season, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and Dr. Shapiro & Dr. Lokshin have put together a list of six common triggers you should avoid while visiting friends and family.




  1. Meet Fido, Dusty and Mo –Dander, saliva and urine from animals can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. If you’re allergic to pets, kindly ask the host or hostess to keep the pet out of the room you will be sleeping in. And don’t forget about the other “pets” that are commonly found in homes, including dust and mold. Be sure to pack allergy and asthma medications and take them before, during and after travel. If you prevent symptoms with immunotherapy (allergy shots) be sure to make an appointment with us before you leave home.
  2. Your Home Smells (Achoo!) Lovely – Candles and plug-in air fresheners may seem like a great way to freshen up your home, but they can be harmful. About one-third of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners, which contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Store the candles and let the scents from the oven provide natural aromas.




  1. Cheers to an Allergic Reaction –Breaking out the bubbly might seem like a great way to toast the holidays. That is until you have an upset stomach, trouble breathing and itchy eyes. Reactions to alcohol can be triggered by naturally occurring ingredients in beer and wine, including barley, ethanol, grapes, histamine, hops, malt, oats, tryptamine, tyramine, wheat, and yeast.  If you have a known allergy, ask the host for a glass of sparkling juice or water instead.




  1. Spice Isn’t So Nice – Spices may be a key ingredient in nearly every holiday dish, but they may cause you to sneeze and wheeze. Spice allergy is responsible for an estimated two percent of food allergies. Common spice allergy triggers include cinnamon and garlic, but can range from black pepper to vanilla. Before you indulge in a holiday feast, ask the chef what spices and other allergens were used in the dishes.




  1. Share Cheer, Not Viruses – The flu season coincides with the holiday season, lasting from October to March. Protect yourself from giving and receiving the virus by getting a flu shot and washing your hands regularly. Have an egg allergy? Allergists still recommend getting the flu shot because the vaccinations contain such a low amount of egg protein that it likely won’t cause an allergic reaction. Play it safe and have your allergist administer the shot, and monitor you for 30 minutes to ensure there is no reaction.




  1. Chatty Cathy – Save long conversations for once you see family and friends in person. Cell phones, including smartphones and flip models, can contain allergy-causing cobalt and nickel. These metals can cause redness, swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions and occasional scarring. For sufferers that are glued to their phones, opt for plastic phone cases, wireless ear pieces and clear film screens to decrease allergic reactions.


For more information about allergies and asthma, visit  or




Over the years I have treated several Reno/Sparks locals that have fallen victim to unwanted allergy and asthma symptoms during the holiday season. I would be happy to discuss this topic with you, and also share the common holiday staples, such as Christmas trees, that can cause allergic reactions. 






Leonard Shaprio, MD


Boris Lokshin, MD


2135 Green Vista Dr. Suite 109


Sparks, NV 89431


Ph: 775-359-5010


Fax: 775-359-7656