This week, many of you are prepping your homes to host family and friends for the December holidays. Yet between vacuuming deliriously, setting out fresh linens, and baking scrumptious cookies, you might find yourself pondering some very important questions: “Isn’t Aunt Meta allergic to the cat?” “Wait, which one of my cousins has a peanut allergy?”
With more than 50 million allergy-sufferers and about 20 million asthma-sufferers in America, there’s a good chance that you’ll host at least one guest who has one of these conditions. This presents a unique challenge for non-sufferers. You want your guests to be comfortable and feel at home. But if you don’t know what it’s like to cope with these ailments on a daily basis, it can be hard to understand the kind of accommodations necessary to keep symptoms under control. Fortunately, there’s help. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) has created this handy list of tips to help you ensure that your guests are comfortable and symptom-free when they’re under your roof.
- Regularly dust surfaces and vacuum carpets, upholstered furniture, and drapery in the days and weeks leading up to your holiday gathering. This will help minimize dust mites, animal dander, and other potential allergy triggers.
- Ask guests about their food allergies before you plan a menu. Note that even trace amounts of a suspect food can trigger an allergic reaction, so keep track of ingredients used. Additionally, avoid cross-contamination by thoroughly washing utensils, cookware, and food storage containers between uses.
- Clean guest rooms thoroughly the day before your visitors arrive. This includes dusting, vacuuming, and washing sheets and pillowcases in hot water.
- If your visitors are sensitive to animals, keep all pets out of the guest rooms. Do not allow cats or dogs to rub against your guests or climb in their laps. If necessary, confine your pets in another area of the house, such as the basement.
- Limit fragrant candles, plants, and potpourris since many people with allergies and chemical sensitivities can be affected by these odors. Remember to apply perfume conservatively as well.
- Don’t burn wood in the fireplace. The smoke and ash released during the fire can contribute to breathing difficulty and cause an asthma attack. Also, request that your guests smoke cigarettes outdoors.
To create a healthier, allergen-free home for the long-term – something both you and your guests will benefit from – consider investing in a few tools.
A HEPA air purifier can help filter out airborne allergens and particles, which can hinder your breathing overtime.
A good-quality vacuum cleaner with HEPA air filtration will help you remove dirt, pet hair, and other small pathogens from your carpets, floors, and furniture with ease.
You can also start using dust mite-proof bedding to kill existing dust mites and prevent them from invading your bedrooms in the future.