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It’s the season to celebrate but for many people with asthma, Christmas can bring on symptoms triggered by anything from stress to cold weather, says a new survey.

Asthma UK’s latest Christmas Trigger Survey shows that the top five triggers at Christmas-time are: cold or snowy weather (affecting 76% of people with asthma), unpacking dusty decorations (58%), stress (47%), smoke from open fires (46%) and strong fragrances from perfume (40%) and scented candles (also 40%).

Don’t cancel Christmas! You can enjoy the festivities, too
Real Christmas trees (24%), alcohol (14%) and fake snow (7%) are also on the list of triggers (one of Stephen Fry’s triggers is champagne, and Chris Tarrant finds that dry ice can be a problem for him – present at many Christmas parties at this time of year). It can be very hard to avoid some of these things when the festive season is in full swing.

‘But that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself or that you need to keep a child with asthma away from the celebrations,’ says Debby Waddell, clinical lead for Asthma UK. ‘The good news is that you can take action to reduce the likelihood of reacting to your triggers by taking your asthma medication as prescribed. This is really important because they are designed to work every day to reduce the risk of your body reacting to triggers. However research2 suggests that on average half of people with asthma do not take these as they should. It’s also absolutely vital that you have a written asthma action plan so that you understand your triggers and what to do if your asthma is getting worse.”

Your step-by-step guide to a happy healthy Christmas…

…is just a click away. Asthma UK has created this expert guide because nearly 200 people in the UK will be admitted to hospital with a life-threatening asthma attack on Christmas Day. There are lots of simple things you can do to cut your risk – or the risk of a guest with asthma who’s coming to stay with you. Use the guide to make this Christmas memorable for all the right reasons.

Find more helpful advice at asthma.org.uk