Hosting an allergen-free holiday

Nov. 24, 2010 at 4:28 PM
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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Holiday meal allergens and Aunt Sophie's lap dog can be hard on those with food allergies, asthma and other allergic conditions, U.S. allergists say.

Members of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, who diagnose and treat allergies and asthma advise guests with allergies to give their host a heads up ahead of time.

"If you visit relatives or friends for the holidays, let them know about your allergy and asthma triggers well in advance," members of the ACAAI say in a statement.

Some ways hosts can help a home be allergen free include:

-- Changing the furnace filter. Replace with a high efficiency MERV 11 rated filter if possible.

-- Establish an allergy-free bedroom by keeping pets out, washing all linens and pillows in hot water and setting up a HEPA air cleaner.

-- Keeping allergens off the menu. Those with a wheat or dairy allergy may need to avoid self-basting birds that contain soy, wheat and dairy. A natural turkey, by law, contains only turkey and water. Read all food labels while cooking.

-- Ban smoking indoors and wood fires, which both can trigger asthma.

-- Getting vaccinated. A flu shot will help keep flu, which can trigger severe asthma, from spreading.

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