As the festive season approaches, the Asthma Society of Ireland is today calling on the 380,000 people with asthma in Ireland, to be vigilant with their asthma management during the Christmas period and to be aware of their triggers that could potentially provoke a life threatening asthma attack.
Ruth Morrow, Respiratory Nurse on the Asthma Society’s nurse-led WhatsApp Messaging Service said: “After the tough year that 2020 has been, many of us are particularly looking forward to the festivities this Christmas. However it is crucial people with asthma do not let their guard down and continue to manage their asthma by taking their medication as prescribed and having an Asthma Action Plan in place. People with asthma should also be aware of triggers that may cause their asthma to worsen during the festive season.
Our #12TriggersOfChristmas list contains 12 common asthma triggers along with some tips to help reduce the impact of these triggers on your asthma.
If you have any questions about your triggers or your asthma, I’d love to hear from you. Please send a WhatsApp message to our Slaintecare-funded nurse-led WhatsApp Messaging service on 086 059 0132 and I will work with you to help you get your asthma in control.”
- Artificial Christmas trees and decorations often gather mold and dust. If your asthma is triggered by mold/dust, it is important to damp dust the tree/decorations when they are removed from storage. After Christmas, before putting the decorations back into storage, remove any dust that may have accumulated on them over the Christmas period. Wrap them in plastic before storage.
- Real Christmas trees or any festive greenery such as holly and mistletoe often contain mold which will thrive in a warm environment. To reduce the impact of the tree on your asthma you should hose it down before you bring it into your home and keep it in the coolest part of your house. Remove the tree from your home immediately if you notice it triggering your asthma symptoms.
- Open Fires are a tradition for many people during the Christmas season. However they emit smoke and fumes, which triggers asthma for many people. Try to avoid being in a room with an open fire where possible, and burn smokeless fuel instead of smoky fuels.
- Scented Candles which are a common gift at Christmas, can be a big trigger for people with asthma. Use non-scented candles or LED candles instead and if you are given a scented candle, consider re-gifting it.
- Alcohol contains histamines and sulphites which can trigger asthma in some people. If you know a certain drink triggers your asthma, avoid i
- Weather changes can have a huge effect on people with asthma, especially the cold weather during winter. Breathe through a scarf when outdoors to help filter the cold air. Try to exercise indoors instead of outside to avoid the cold air. Check out the Asthma Society’s Winter Wellness Guide on asthma.ie for tips on managing asthma during the Winter
- Stress is a common trigger for people with asthma and people often get stressed around Christmas time. If you are unable to get your stress under control, speak to someone, family, friend or even consider speaking to a professional. Medication and yoga works very well to relieve stress in many people.
- Colds and flus are very common at this time of the year and are also a very common trigger for people with asthma. People with asthma should speak to their Healthcare professional about availing of the flu vaccine, practice good hand hygiene, and try to avoid other people who have a cold/flu.
- Cigarette smoke is another common asthma trigger which many will be exposed to over the Christmas season. If you have asthma you should not smoke. If you come into contact with someone who is smoking you should remind them of your asthma and ask them to stop.
- Cleaning products – many people choose to clean their houses before or after the Christmas holidays. Many common cleaning products trigger asthma. If your asthma is triggered by these products, use natural cleaning agents such as lemon and water or baking soda and vinegar instead.
- Food which is often consumed in large amounts during the festive season can contain ingredients that people with asthma are allergic to, which can trigger their asthma. If you know you are allergic to a certain food, avoid it. Let your friends know in advance of any allergies you may have.
- COVID-19 is still an issue even though it is Christmas. It is extremely important that we all work together to stop the spread of this deadly disease. Follow the HSE’s advice and measures to help prevent its spread. This is available on the HSE’s website: hse.ie.
People who have questions about managing their asthma and their triggers over the Christmas season, can also freephone the Asthma Society’s HSE-funded Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 to speak to an asthma nurse. After speaking to one of the Asthma Society’s nurses, users will be fully equipped with the information and skills they need to improve their health and stay as well as possible.
The Asthma Society’s nurse-led Asthma and COPD Adviceline and WhatsApp Messaging Service will close from Wednesday the 23rd of December to Monday the 4th of January. People with asthma and COPD are encouraged to get in contact before then.
The Asthma Society recently launched its #AsthmaChristmasAppeal.
Speaking about the Asthma Society’s Christmas Appeal, Fundraising Manager, Deirdre Lennon, said: “This year has been a particularly tough one for us here in the Asthma Society. During COVID-19, the need for our asthma and COPD support services soared. People from all over Ireland availed of our free services to better their condition(s) and to keep themselves safer during the pandemic. Although we are delighted to see this increase in people actively managing their asthma, it has come at a financial cost to us.
Due to COVID-19, many of our fundraising revenues were cut and because of this, our organisation which has helped so many people with their asthma over the years, is struggling to stay afloat. We really need your help now, more than ever.
To support our crucial work in improving and saving the lives of people with asthma, please make a donation to our #AsthmaChristmasAppeal and help us keep the lights on this Christmas. Every euro raised will go towards our life-altering nurse-led services that support both people with asthma and their families.
The Asthma Society’s Christmas Appeal can be accessed via: https://asiremembrancetree.com/