Make Valentine’s an Asthma-Friendly Day

(February 13, 2013)

Alvin E-Card Image
Valentine's Day is one of "Air Collector" Alvin Grimes' favorite holidays and he's made this Valentine's e-card to proclaim his love for air. Share it with your friends!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your significant other how much you care. However, when you have asthma many traditional gifts can worsen symptoms and make it hard to breathe. The American Lung Association offers these tips that can help make your Valentine’s Day more asthma-friendly.

Low-pollen/No-pollen, Fragrance-free Flowers and Plants

Flowers are a traditional way to say “I love you”, but many varieties can cause asthma and allergy symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing. However, this doesn’t mean your loved ones can’t enjoy fresh cut blooms or flowering plants. Here are some tips to make an asthma – and allergy-friendly selection that everyone can enjoy:

  • Fresh Flowers: Ask your florist to create a low pollen, low fragrant asthma-friendly bouquet. Check out Organic Bouquet which highlights some low-fragrant options.
  • Potted Plants: A container herb garden with parsley and thyme, or orchids, miniature roses and ivy are pollen-free choices. Be mindful that indoor plants can be a source of mold - a common asthma trigger. To avoid mold growth, do not overwater plants, keep them in a sunny spot and remove any dead parts immediately. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust.

Fragrance-free Gifts:
Perfume, cologne and scented body products may help your sweetie smell nice, but the chemicals in both can worsen asthma and allergy symptoms. They can cause wheezing, nausea and headaches. Consider fragrance-free gifts, such as:

  • Unscented Bath Products: Give your loved one a basket full of unscented soaps, bath salts, lotions and shampoo. They are just as luxurious as their scented counterparts, but should not cause asthma symptoms.
  • Unscented Candles: Candles create a romantic atmosphere, but their scent can trigger asthma. Use the flameless, electric candles instead. They come in many sizes and provide a lovely glow.
  • Fragrance-free Spa Gifts: Who doesn’t love a day at the spa? Before purchasing a spa service ask if a fragrance-free option is available, including unscented oils, candles and lotions.

Learn more by visiting the American Lung Association asthma trigger page.

Select a Smoke-free Restaurant:
Cigarette and cigar smoke can trigger an asthma episode, so choose a smoke-free restaurant for that cozy dinner for two. Second-hand smoke can easily travel from the smoking section into the non-smoking section, so try to avoid restaurants that offer smoking sections.

Avoid Fireplaces:

The smoke caused by wood burning fireplaces can be an asthma trigger. Choose a restaurant without a fireplace. If not, sit as far away from the roaring fire as possible.

Select an Allergy- and Asthma-friendly Hotel:

Planning an overnight stay? Some hotels offer rooms that minimize allergens. They may be furnished with hardwood floors instead of carpet, have shades instead of fabric drapes, and use hypoallergenic linens. When making reservations ask if your hotel can accommodate the following:

  • Non-smoking Property: Choose a hotel that is completely smoke-free. Cigarette and cigar smoke can travel through the heating and cooling systems into your room. If a smoke-free hotel is not available, stay in a non-smoking room on a non-smoking floor.
  • BYOB - Bring Your Own Bedding: If you use a special pillowcase or mattress covers to reduce dust mite exposure consider bringing them with you. Hypoallergenic “sleep sacks” are designed to use when staying in hotels to protect you from allergens, and can be purchased at stores that sell bedding.
  • Fragrance-Free Rooms: If strong odors trigger your asthma, ask for a hotel room without scented soaps, lotions or cleaning products. If you are a houseguest, ask your host not to burn candles or incense, or use air fresheners.
  • Firelight: Planning a romantic dinner in front of the fire? Instead of a fire try placing flameless candles in or around the fireplace for mood lighting.

Here are a few more ways you can show your loved one how much you care.

  • If you smoke, make a plan to quit. Visit Freedom From Smoking Online for information to help you, a friend or family member quit smoking.
  • Get a flu vaccine. One of the main causes of asthma episodes is a respiratory infection like the flu. It’s not too late to get a flu shot - find out more about the flu.
  • Create a support community. Even caregivers could use a little help at times. The My Fighting For Air Community is a free and simple way for people with lung disease and their families to receive support from a personally created community of their family, friends, neighbors and others who care about them. Join the American Lung Association’s Online Support Community to meet others caring for individuals with lung disease.
  • Be active together. Exercise is important for everyone, including people with asthma. Participating in physical activities can be more fun with the ones you love. Learn how people with asthma can stay in the game by downloading the Staying Active with Exercise-Induced Asthma Checklistand creating an exercise plan with your health care provider.
  • Manage emotions. Emotions can run high for everyone on Valentine’s Day. Stress, excitement, anger, crying, and even laughing really hard can trigger an asthma episode. Practice deep breathing to help reduce stress and excitement. Remember to eat healthy and get plenty of rest. Click here for the American Lung Association’s tips on how to manage stress.

For more information on lung health call the American Lung Association
HelpLine at 1-800-586-4872