How to Entertain for the Holidays -- When Guests Have Allergies or Asthma
They’re almost here – friends and relatives who’ll sneeze and sniffle through the holiday because they’re allergic to something in your home.
Luckily, we’ve got 10 tips to help you keep them safe and comfortable this year.
Why do only some guests feel sick when they visit?
Because they’re among the 1 in 6 Americans with indoor allergies. Or the 100 million with asthma. That means their immune system slips into overdrive when confronted with bio-residual proteins (better known as “indoor allergens” linked to dust, mites, pets, and mold).
Common symptoms include puffy eyes that tear and burn, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and sinus headache. There can also be itchy skin, hives or rashes, extreme exhaustion, shortness of breath, headaches, even bad joint pain.
Would it help to board all the pets?
Not much, because animals aren’t really the problem. The problem is microscopic proteins found in their fur, saliva, dander, feathers, urine, and solid waste.
Even pet-free households are full of these contaminants. That’s because they are incredibly lightweight, and become airborne as soon as they leave an animal’s body. Within minutes they can travel long distances, entering homes through open doors or windows, even heating and cooling system.
Because the allergens are sticky, they cling to upholstery, carpet, drapes and curtains, bed linen, even bath towels. From there they’re quickly inhaled by your allergic guests and absorbed through their skin pores. Before they know it, their symptoms are raging!
Can vigorous household cleaning get rid of the allergens?
Absolutely not! Billions of them circulate in every indoor area. Luckily, most of us don’t react to them.
But in adults and kids with allergies or asthma, they get mistaken for dangerous invaders. And in the effort to eliminate infection, the person’s immune system rushes antibodies to the nose, lungs, eyes, and surface skin. It’s this defensive “attack” that causes symptoms.
Is there any way to help keep guests comfortable?
Yes. Although you can’t completely stop exposure to indoor allergens, you can dramatically lower the number of invisible proteins hiding inside your home.
Experts say that should be enough to greatly relieve symptoms. (After all, even sensitive people can handle some indoor allergens. Symptoms start when they’re bombarded by a lot of them.)
Here are 10 easy tips that will help…
1. Use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) vacuum at least twice a week and a HEPA air purifier daily. Experts say this alone can eliminate up to 90% of the airborne allergens in your home.
2. Treat your home regularly with a solution like Easy Air Organic Anti-Allergy Spray, formulated to neutralize protein allergens. Lightly mist upholstery, rugs, carpets, drapes, pillows, and mattresses.
3. If you have pets, bathe them frequently with an anti-allergen animal shampoo. You can find these products online and in pet stores. Experts say that a good bath will reduce a cat’s allergens by nearly 50%, and dog allergens by 85%.
4. Follow up by moistening the pet’s fur and combing it daily. Both will deactivate allergens, and keep them from building up.
5. Change the litter box frequently.
6. Avoid environmental triggers that often provoke allergy and asthma symptoms: word fires, cigarette smoke, caffeine, perfume, fresh paint, scented laundry rinse, and fabric softeners.
7. Use pillows filled with polyester fibers instead of feathers.
8. Wash bedding at least once a week in very hot water (over 130 F) and dry it in a hot dryer.
9. Get extra protection with an anti-allergy laundry rinse. Adding just 2 tablespoons to the final rinse cycle will destroy allergens that regular laundry detergent can’t touch.
10. Try an essential oil diffuser. In particular, essential oils of peppermint, lavender, and rose can help neutralize airborne contaminants, clear sinuses, relieve allergy headaches -- and make your home smell great!
What’s the takeaway?
Alleges are everywhere. Your home is no exception. But by reducing the allergen count inside your house or apartment, you can make the holiday visit much more pleasant for your allergic guests. They’ll love you for it!
Good luck. Be well!