Christmas is coming and along with the excitement of preparing for Santa, visitors and parties, if you are managing allergies extra vigilance is required over the holiday season as an increase in allergic reactions usually occurs over this period. It’s all about planning & preparation Christmas can be enjoyed safely while managing Allergies or Anaphylaxis, so check out our top tips to stay safe.
Top tips to avoid triggers of Allergic reactions and Anaphylactic shock over the Christmas
If you or your child has a food allergy, plan ahead for any festive celebrations, checking recipes and ingredients for allergens. If you are going to someone else house, phone a few days in advance & chat about your allergies. Check ingredients, share recipes or bring an allergy-friendly dish along. Be aware that festive treats like Marzipan contain almonds and egg white, Nougat often contains a mixture of nuts and egg whites and Mortadella spiced meat may include pistachios.
Thanks to new legislation restaurants are getting better at catering for allergy customers but it’s always good to ring ahead and speak with the manager or chef and ensure they can cater for you and are prepared to avoid cross-contamination with oils and utensils which might be contaminated with an allergen. At this time of year, recipes can change to become more decorative. Food can be sprinkled with nuts or other allergens to look more festive so check ingredients every time.
Festive drinks can also cause problems for allergy and anaphylaxis. Christmas is a time when people break out new & interesting drinks which may have been spiced or flavoured. If you deviate from your usual tipple over the Christmas, it’s important to consider allergens such as
- Pine nuts in craft beer
- Almonds in some gins such as Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire
- Dairy in Cream liquors, White Russians or Pina Coladas
- Egg white – Whiskey Sour or other cocktails with white froth may contain raw egg white
- Egg White – To salt or sugar rim cocktail glasses
- Chickpea Liquid (Aquafaba or Garbanzo) – may be used as an egg substitute to create white froth in cocktails such as Passionfruit Martini or Gin Fizz
- Gluten in beers & spirits
- Sulphites & Histamines in wine and beers
- Sodium benzoate in soft drinks, wine & beer
# Christmas Trees
Mould & pollen on real Christmas trees can cause problems for people with allergies. Ask a non-allergic buddy to give your tree a good shake & hose down & allow it to dry before bringing it into your home. The same applies for artificial Christmas trees and dust mite allergies.
When you locate those decorations in the attic they can be covered in dust causing problems for people with dust mite allergies. Wipe them down with a damp cloth and store in airtight plastic containers when putting them away to avoid dust build up.
# Poinsettias, Balloons & Latex Allergies
With latex allergies be careful around poinsettias as these popular Christmas plants are a member of the rubber tree family. Balloons, condoms, eye lash glue, latex gloves, elastic, rubber bands and other natural rubber products can also cause problems for people with latex allergies. Festive Balloons can be a problem so try and raise awareness amongst friends and work colleagues and go for latex-free balloons. Some people with latex allergies may also react to certain foods with similar proteins to latex such as bananas, avocados, chestnut and kiwis. If dining out call ahead to make sure they are not using latex gloves while preparing food and if you cross react to any foods let the restaurant know in advance. Check with hairdressers, dentists or other health care provider to ensure they are not using latex gloves.
# School, Childcare & Festive Fun
It is always good to touch base with teachers and childcare early in the festive season to ensure any planned activities are safe and your child is included in the festive fun. To avoid children being asked not to eat, wait in a hall or even requested to stay at home chat to the class teacher or childminder about the safe inclusion of your child in Christmas activities involving food. Ask for a reminder to be sent to parents via the school newsletter or messaging system, that there is a child with allergies in the group so any treats sent in are safe. Provide the crèche or pre-school with safe treats or a list of safe treats for special occasions and remind all to check ingredients every time as ingredients can change, and fun size and larger versions can have different ingredients. In addition be aware of potential allergy triggers in soaps, face paints, balloons (latex), art and craft materials such as egg cartons or bird/animal feed. For more information, read our Managing Allergies in School blog.
# Flying Home for Christmas
Contact your airline in advance and notify them of your allergies. For nut allergies ask if they will make an announcement restricting the sale of nut & nut products on the flight and to request that passengers do not open any nut products they have bought on board. Some airlines are very accommodating & will do this as a matter of course if you advise them of a severe peanut or tree nut allergy. Some may not, it’s better to know in advance and fly with airlines who will prioritise your safety. For more information, read our travelling with allergies blog. If you require face coverings, we stock reusable face masks for adults and kids
# Kissing under the Mistletoe
If you have food allergies, having an allergic reaction immediately after kissing someone who has eaten the food or taken oral medication that you are allergic to can happen. Allergists recommend that the non-allergic partner brush his or her teeth, rinses his or her mouth and avoids the offending food for 16 to 24 hours before smooching with a person who is highly allergic to that food. For more information, read our kissing with allergies blog
If you’re going out for a night on the town over the Christmas period make sure you have 2 adrenaline autoinjectors with you at all times. Let everyone know about your adrenaline auto-injectors and show people how to use them so they can act quickly and know what to do should you have an allergic reaction. Check out our great range here of EpiPen Cases here for great ways to carry and protect your epinephrine auto-injectors.
Whether you are carrying EPIPEN , Emerade, Jext, Auvi-Q or Anapen auto-injectors check your adrenaline/ epinephrine auto-injectors are in date, store them at room temperature and make sure you carry two with you at all times along with some anti-histamine. They can only help you if you have them on you at the time. If you have food allergies, a good motto to keep you safe is ‘No pen, No Food!’ If you forget your pen either go home and get it or don’t eat. It may sound over the top but it could save your life. It may be a good idea to keep pens and antihistamine together in a small bag, this can help ensure that they are with you at all times. Check out our range of Epipen carriers and Medication bags big and small to suit all needs
Wear medical jewellery or medical wristbands which clearly state your allergy so you can get appropriate medical care in the event you are unable to communicate it yourself. If you get separated from friends, it’s important that the people around you know what’s going on if you have an allergic reaction.
Useful Products to have:
- EpiPen Case or Medicine Carry Bag: Consider an Adrenaline pen holder or Medicine Carry Bag so you can have your antihistamine, adrenaline and fully charged mobile on you in case of emergency.
- Allergy Alert Wristband or Medical Alert Jewellery: Consider an Allergy Wristband or Medical Jewellery with allergy information and emergency contact numbers.
- Face masks for adults and kids
So with a little bit of planning & preparation, you can relax and enjoy Christmas. Wishing you a safe and Happy Christmas from the team at Allergy Lifestyle
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Allergy Lifestyle Limited (t/a) Allergy Lifestyle) uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information provided however no warranty is given that they are error-free.