Going Visiting this Holiday? Keep Your Allergies under Control

By staff

Over the river and through the woods, into the mold and cat hair and walnuts we go.  What are you going to do when you go visiting this holiday season and your host’s home wreaks havoc with your allergies? It’s not unusual and it is very uncomfortable, as well as sometimes dangerous, to have your otherwise under control allergies flare up in a new environment. Whether you are just going for a meal or an afternoon visit, or a week’s stay, your best defense is preparing ahead. Here are some tips to do so:

• Explain to your host beforehand. Sometimes it’s easier to do when it’s your children than yourself, but take the same precautions for yourself as you would for them. Don’t be shy; your hosts will feel worse if you can’t enjoy your visit because you are sneezing or breaking out in hives.

• Let them know some of the things they can do to help you out, for instance if you have a pet allergy, a thorough vacuuming and keeping their pet isolated while you are there, or at least keeping it out of your room if you are staying overnight will be beneficial. It’s a lot to ask that the pet go somewhere else, but if it’s easy and your host suggests it, take them up on it. It will save you a lot of discomfort and may be easier for the host, as well.

• If you have a food allergy, be specific. Would you rather that food not be in the house, or just in your food? Tell your host hidden places where your allergen may be. You may also want to tell your host some things you can have and do enjoy. Not only will that take some of the guesswork out, but hosts usually love preparing their guests favorite things.

• With a food allergy, ask your host to wait until you get there to go grocery shopping if it will be an extended stay. You can check ingredients and help with menu ideas and even spring for the groceries.

• Think about things you can bring to ease your stay, especially if it is overnight longer. You may want to bring your own pillow, possibly your own sheets if you think pets have been on the bed. You can tell your host your sheets are hypoallergenic and the only ones you can sleep on to avoid seeming offensive. If you are allergic to milk, for instance, bring some soymilk with you or any other alternative.

• Bring your medication! You never know. For all the preparations and careful planning, you still may have a dog sleeping in the same room with you or you may be watching TV on the cat’s favorite chair. There still may be pecans in the stuffing or milk served at breakfast even after all of your thorough explanations. Dust mites may fly through the air and be nestled in your pillow. Take your antihistamines, keep your epipen around, and enjoy your visit!

- Heather Legg

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