Sunday, 23 November 2008 00:00

An Allergy Checklist for Holiday Gatherings

SUNDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- When hosting for the holiday season, be aware that one in six American suffer from either allergies or asthma.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers these tips for party throwers to help ensure their guests' asthma and allergy symptoms don't rear up:

  • Ask guests about food allergies before planning your menu. Even trace amounts of an offending food can trigger a reaction. Know what is in each dish and avoid cross-contamination by thoroughly washing utensils, cookware and food storage containers between uses.
  • Minimize dust mites, animal dander and other allergens by dusting and vacuuming regularly in the weeks before the event. Vacuum upholstered furniture and drapery as well as carpets.
  • Clean or replace furnace air filters so they trap allergens better.
  • If people are staying overnight, clean their rooms thoroughly the day they arrive, including washing sheets and pillowcases in hot water.
  • Keep pets out of guests' rooms and, if necessary, confined to another area of the house, such as the basement.
  • Limit fragrant candles, plants and potpourris. Apply perfume conservatively.
  • Don't burn wood in the fireplace as smoke and ash can trigger asthma issues. Require guests who smoke to do so outdoors.

More information

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has more about having an allergy- and asthma-free holiday.