Updated 30 October 2017

7 tips to avoid an asthma attack this Christmas

Christmas can be a tough time for people with asthma, as there are not only added stressors around, but also things which could trigger asthma attacks.

The following tips are given by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to help get you or a family member through this potentially tricky time:

Read:Exercises you can safely do if you have asthma

1. Stock up on meds. Make sure you have the right medication (and a prescription if you need one) to see you through, as GPs and pharmacies may not be as accessible as they usually are. Make a note of holiday opening times.

2. Watch out what you drink. Additives and preservatives in alcoholic drinks (especially if you usually don’t drink at all) could trigger an asthma attack.

3. Christmas stress. Shopping, cooking, putting up decorations, family get-togethers – these can all add to your stress levels. Try to keep things as simple as possible.

4. Watch what you eat. Don’t eat anything unless you know what it contains. If you have any allergies, alert your host, and avoid dishes that contain anything that might trigger your allergies. Rather be safe than sorry.

5. Dusty decorations. Get someone else to put these up, especially if they have spent the past year gathering dust somewhere under the bed.

6. Avoid smoke. Most smokers are polite enough these days not to smoke indoors, but there can be other sources of smoke, such as candles or braai fires. Steer clear of these.

7. Cold or flu germs. Christmas can mean lots of people in small spaces. Colds and flu can make your asthma a lot worse, so try and steer clear of anyone who is sniffing or coughing, even if they think you are being rude.

Read more:

How you can die from ‘thunderstorm asthma’

Make your bedroom allergy safe

Is it safe to use an asthma inhaler if I don't have asthma?



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Asthma Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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