How to keep children with asthma safe at Christmas
As someone with asthma, I know that winter can be one of the most difficult times of the year. The cold weather, decorations that may have collected dust, and even christmas trees can all be triggers for asthmatics.
There are lots you can do to ensure that your child is safe and to prevent possible asthma attacks from occurring this Christmas. Making sure that you are prepared and aware of what to stay away from is key, but we also have a few tips to make sure your child isn’t missing out on any of the festive fun!
1. Be prepared
Being prepared and ready for the worst case scenario is vital when dealing with asthmatic children, especially around Christmas.
- Have an asthma action plan. This is filled out by you, your child and their GP or asthma nurse. It is specific to your child and tells them which medication to take, what to do if their symptoms are getting worse and what emergency action to take if your child is having an asthma attack. You can find more information about asthma plans and how to create one on asthma.org.uk.
- Stock their prescriptions. It is important to make sure you have your child inhalers and necessary prescriptions in full stock before GP surgeries and local pharmacies close for the Christmas season.
2. Know the triggers
Every child will have different triggers that cause their asthma to flare up, but around the festive season, they will likely be exposed to a few specific ones.
- Cold weather is a known trigger of asthma. Make sure your child is wrapping up and staying warm this winter. Asthma UK recommends asthmatics to “wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth, as this warms up the air before you breathe it in”.
- Real Christmas Trees can carry pollen, which could trigger your child’s asthma. A safer option would be to get an artificial tree or even have your Christmas tree outside! Also, remember to clean off your artificial tree if you have had it in storage, as it may carry dust.
- Dust mites are tiny insects that live in dust, and they love to make an appearance during the festive season! It is impossible to get rid of dust mites completely (as they are invisible), but you can reduce them in your house. For example, try and make sure you are wiping down your trees and dusty decorations outside with a warm cloth and avoid stuffed toys as presents as they collect a lot of dust.
- Candles can be a lovely addition to the home during Christmas, however the soot and scents can aggravate asthma symptoms. Try alternatives such as non-toxic soy or beeswax candles, or even LED candles to give you the same aesthetic effect in a safer way!
- Stress around the festive season can also be a big trigger for children with asthma. It is important to recognise and try to reduce stressful elements around Christmas so that everyone can enjoy their days to the fullest! Check out our expert advice on how to reduce stress and anxiety around Christmas.
3. Use the Asthma UK hotline
For more information and advice about asthma and how to keep it under control over Christmas or otherwise, visit www.asthma.org.uk. You can also speak to an asthma nurse specialist through their helpline from Monday to Friday or contact them through WhatsApp.