Most of us are absolutely used to the everyday differences that eczema or allergies can bring to family life. But it’s very tricky at Christmas time to manage it all, for lots of reasons. We might be away from our own home, and creature comforts. There may be new environmental hazards that we can’t control. We don’t have every treatment or potion right at hand.
We have also had to manage parties and events where children (and adults) are affected by other allergies than those that we are familiar with. So, I thought it would be useful to put together a Christmas checklist of all the things we should check before hosting a family Christmas. Useful for visitors and hosts alike I hope.
- If there are severe food allergies, it’s worth warning everyone in advance – for instance a short note to everyone explaining the allergy and its severity along with any absolute MUSTS, such as please don’t eat peanuts before our event
- If you are hosting someone with food allergies, find out what is and what’s not okay – people are usually very happy to bring their own food if there’s something that wont suit them, but hang back from doing so as it can be embarrassing.
- It may be that although someone can’t eat something, it’s okay for them to be in a room with it. But this needs checking as it will depend on the severity of the allergy.
- Is there a pet allergy? Will family/friends mind shutting the pet in a separate part of the house for the duration of the visit?
I appreciate that this is a hard one, as no-one wants to appear grabby, but I know that our family not only want to give gifts to the girls, they want them to be good ones that they will enjoy, so they do appreciate a little guidance.
- Avoid anything but natural fibres if you are buying clothes or textiles for people affected by eczema or skin allergies.
- Don’t buy perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, bubble baths, face paints or lip-balms for people with eczema.
- Clays and crafts can also be allergens – these are probably worth just checking with the parent.
- Foods, especially high sugar or very processed food are often not good for children with eczema and very difficult for a parent to take away.
- Avoid selection boxes, chocolate boxes or chocolate ornaments for people with food allergies – any sniff of a nut in there for someone with a nut allergy, and their Christmas is all over.
We all love to make our house ‘Christmassy’ but this can be a minefield for someone with severe allergies. Be careful with:
- Natural table decorations which may include nuts seeds and other allergens. I know some us are even allergic to pine…
- Check before using plug in perfumes or diffusers
- Check before using any sprayable decoration, such as window ‘snow’.
Just in case
- Make sure your medical kit is well stocked and includes an antihistamine
- Double check that you’ve packed 2 epipens.