The holidays are a beautiful time of year that brings family and friends together. It is a time of happiness and joy. However, it can also be a time in which some people are greater risk for illness. The holidays are a time in which people with asthma often start seeing an increase in risk of exacerbation from upper respiratory infection (such as the common cold). Although the wintertime brings a decrease in pollen exposure in northern Utah, people continue to struggle with winter allergies, especially from indoor allergens such as pet dander and dust mites. And of course as the winter season arrives, along the Wasatch front area of northern Utah we see difficulty with worsened air quality due to the so-called “inversion.”

From the standpoint of food allergies, it is also a potentially treacherous time. With many holiday goodies containing peanuts, tree nuts and other food allergens, the risk of life-threatening allergic reaction is very high during the holiday season. For people with food allergy problems it is important to check ingredients and be sure to always carry an epinephrine autoinjector if prescribed by your doctor.

This time of year we also see more trouble with certain skin conditions, especially with eczema (atopic dermatitis) as well as hives (urticaria). The increasingly dry air that we experience this time of year likely plays a significant role in conditions such as eczema. However, as with the other above mentioned conditions, a proactive/preventative approach can go along way to help minimize problems.

This is a good time to meet with your allergist to be sure that these chronic conditions are fully managed. Being proactive when it comes to allergy, asthma, food allergy and related issues is important in making sure that this be a healthy, happy holiday season. If you have questions or if you’re having difficulty with your ongoing health issues, please contact your allergist. Have a safe and happy holiday season!