Avoiding Allergens During the Holidays

Holidays can be especially difficult times for nasal allergy sufferers. Follow these tips to keep you feeling your best.

Decorating Tips

  • Avoid scented candles. Use olive oil-based candles for menorahs.
  • Don't recycle wrapping paper. Holiday paper that's been sitting in storage collects dust. Buy fresh paper and ribbon.
  • Consider an artificial tree if you're allergic to pollens. If you buy a live tree, hose it off to remove excess pollen, dust, and mold before bringing it into your house. Don't use flocking material, also called "angel hair," or artificial snow spray on trees or windows.
  • Dust before you decorate. Take your holiday decorations outside to dust them before decorating your tree or home.
  • Clean your house thoroughly before and after the holidays to eliminate as many allergens as possible.
  • Avoid flowers, especially poinsettias, holly, and Easter lilies, if you're sensitive to pollens.

Cooking and Other Fumes

  • Make sure your fireplace or wood-burning stove is vented well. Burn only well-seasoned wood. Install glass doors on the fireplace to prevent smoke from entering your home.
  • Avoid exhaust fumes. When cooking, use the exhaust fan, especially if you have a gas stove.
  • Keep your kitchen very clean, especially if you're doing a lot of cooking. Keep flour sealed in tight containers with some uncooked, white rice. Loose flour can trigger allergy symptoms. If you observe Passover, line shelves with paper towels or cloth to keep them free of matzo crumbs and residue. Also, clean shelves thoroughly after Passover to remove all remaining matzo crumbs and residue.