'Tis the season for holiday gatherings and parties and decorations, but for many allergy and asthma sufferers, the holiday season holds several potential triggers.
Most people don't look at food as potentially harmful, but if you have a food allergy, certain foods can be life threatening. "If we get that message across you'll save a life this year," says Dr. Anthony Ricci, an asthma, allergy specialist.
Britany is one of his young patients who not only has asthma, but food and environmental allergies.
"When people bring their ornaments up from the basement or attics, it can induce asthma and allergic rhinitis," says Dr. Ricci. If you can, have someone not allergic unwrap and clean off the ornaments. In this case, mom. "We dust the ornaments and vacuum to try and keep it under control, " says Britany's mom Kathy Taylor)
Britany's brother Ryan shares the same allergies. "If I have like a sinus infection that'll end up turning to like something big in the winter usually," says Ryan Taylor. So, like Britany, he is especially careful about what he's exposed to.
But even more than dust and molds, its the kids peanut allergies mom is most concerned about. Eating anything with peanuts can potentially be deadly. "I just double check, most of my friends already know that I have it so they're not gonna put anything in it when they make the food, but if there's someone that doesn't know, when in doubt, I won't eat it," says Britany.
But, just in case, Dr. Ricci tells his patients to carry around with them epi-pens, an emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions. And he makes sure they know how to use it correctly. "You take the cap off, jam it in your thigh and you hold it for ten seconds and call 911," says Ricci.
Another tip: if you're visiting friends or family with pets you're allergic to, pre treat. Use your inhaler an hour before.