November 15, 2022

How to Have an Allergy-friendly Thanksgiving

How to Have an Allergy-friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year for most. It’s that special time of year when families come together, driving or flying, across the country to share a bountiful meal and share what they’re thankful for. Although it is a favorite of many, those who suffer from seasonal allergies may dread the large gatherings in other family member’s homes. For those with pet allergies, you may begin to wonder how to ask your Aunt Sally to keep her cat in a closed room, or if you have food allergies you might worry Grandpa Joe may forget to leave the walnuts out of his famous sweet potato casserole. Luckily, with a few easy tips and tricks, you can get back to enjoying an allergy-friendly Thanksgiving!

What are common allergy triggers during the holidays?

Holidays bring so much joy, celebration, and festivities that brings friends and family together. However, they also bring their fair share of allergies. Common allergy triggers during Thanksgiving include pet allergies, mold, and dust mites. These common allergies can quickly trigger an allergic reaction and irritate allergy-induced asthma, so it’s important to be aware of allergy symptoms as they begin to arise. These symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, running nose, congestion, itchy eyes and nose, coughing, and dark circles under your eyes. If these symptoms progress, they can lead to a sinus infection. Before traveling, it is a good idea to get tested for allergies to be aware of what your triggers are and speak with your allergist about a treatment plan so you can avoid allergic reactions as much as possible.

How do I talk to my family about my allergies to avoid triggers when visiting?  

One of the worst parts of having allergies when visiting a family members home, is how do you avoid triggers without upsetting or insulting them? Say for instance your mother’s home is beautifully decorated in a maximalist style with a lot of furniture with lush upholstery. Although being aesthetically pleasing, having a lot of furniture and upholstery brings a great deal of dust and dust mites. So how do you ask your mom to help you avoid allergy triggers without offending her? Have an honest conversation with her. Send her articles explaining your allergies, and what steps she can take to help clear her space of them. If possible, offer to buy her an HEPA air filter, and explain the benefits that it would bring not only to you, but everyone in her home as well. If you have an allergy to pets, speak candidly with any family members or friends you may be visiting about your allergies, and work together to find a solution. Maybe that pet can spend the day in a spare room, or maybe another friend would be willing to pet sit. Regardless of what solution you come to with your friends or family members, it is important you arrive prepared with antihistamines and other allergy medications to mitigate symptoms. You should also consult with your allergy specialist to see what treatment options are right for you. They may recommend allergy shots as a long-term solution to your allergies.

What is the Thanksgiving effect?

If you suffer from pet allergies, you may begin to develop a natural tolerance to pets the more you come into contact with them. You may decide, despite allergies, to bring home a pet cat or dog, and over time your symptoms may begin to diminish or disappear completely. However, if you leave your pets behind to travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas for an extended period you may notice that upon your return you find that Mr. Whiskers or Spot is causing your allergies to flare up again. This is known as the Thanksgiving effect. This disruption in constant exposure to your allergens has once again weakened your immune response to them, and therefore needs time to build back up again.

What are Top-8 allergens and how do food allergy sufferers celebrate Thanksgiving?

If you have food allergies, they will most likely fall into the top-8 allergen categories. The top-8 allergens are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean/shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soybeans. The good news is that even if you suffer from food allergies, there are so many allergy-friendly Thanksgiving recipes to help you enjoy and indulge over the holidays without worrying about dangerous allergic reactions.

Top-8 allergen-free Thanksgiving recipes

Dairy Free Cran-Apple Crumble

Gluten Free Kabocha Squash Stuffing

Light and Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten and Top 8 free Turkey Breast Roast with Pancetta infused Mashed Potatoes

What are some Thanksgiving treats I can share with my pets?

As Thanksgiving is a family holiday, it is only fitting we would want to include our pets in the festivities. There are many traditional Thanksgiving foods your dog and cat can safely enjoy. If you’d like to make your pet a plate, you can safely share turkey breast with them, so long as it is free of the skin, gravy, or fat trimmings. Vegetables are also great for pets such as carrots, green beans, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. Just be sure they are not heavily seasoned or covered in anything too fatty such as gravy or butter. Stuffing can also be fed to your pet so long as it is in small portions and does not include garlic, onion, raisins, or currants.

Feel free to check in with us prior to your holiday travel. Call us at 210-494-0690 or book an appointment, and have a festive, allergy-friendly Thanksgiving.