Author: Paige Blatchford
The Fourth of July is the perfect time to enjoy firework displays, swimming pools, barbecues and the great outdoors. However, these summer festivities can also aggravate your asthma symptoms. Don’t let asthma get in the way of Fourth of July fun this year. Here are four ways the Fourth of July can affect asthma and what you can do to prevent it.
Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand-in-hand. From colorful smoke bombs in your backyard to a professional display with giant explosions, fireworks often leave a trail of smoke. Fireworks fill the air with smoke and small particles that can be irritating for those with asthma. If you’re worried about air pollution this Fourth of July, try keeping your distance from the action. Large firework displays can be seen from miles away. Consider parking in a spot that’s farther away but still has a good view of the show. When you’re watching smaller fireworks at home, you may want to leave plenty of space between you and the people lighting fireworks.
If you tried to stay away but the air pollution still triggers an asthma attack, you can always sit indoors and enjoy the show from your window. During the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July, you may want to keep your air conditioner running and avoid opening the windows. This will help the inside of your house stay comfortable so you can breathe easier.
If your Independence Day plans include a pool party, be mindful of the chlorine. Chlorine can aggravate asthma symptoms and make it more difficult to breathe. Coughing, wheezing and fatigue are signs that chlorine is triggering your asthma symptoms. If chlorine causes irritation, try to avoid swimming in pools with high chlorine levels. There may be non-chlorine swimming pool options or lakes that allow you to avoid chlorine exposure completely. To learn more about how chlorine affects allergy sufferers, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website or talk to your doctor.
Bonfires and BBQs
Bonfires and barbeques are two summer staples that can irritate asthma triggers. Whether you’re grilling out or sitting around the campfire this Fourth of July, it may be helpful to pay attention to the wind if you plan to spend time around smoke. Figure out which direction the wind is blowing from and try to stay upwind. You might be able to breathe easier if you let the wind blow the smoke away from you. If you have asthma, you may want to prepare your food inside or have someone else handle the grilling.
Strong scents can aggravate asthma symptoms, which is important to remember at your Fourth of July picnics this year. Summer barbeques have many different smells with foods, perfumes, fireworks and bug sprays. While you don’t always have control over what smells fill the air, you can choose your mosquito repellant. Bug spray and citronella candles are great at keeping mosquitos away, but they may trigger asthma. Look for other ways to avoid bug bites, such as wearing long-sleeved clothing. Mosquito repellant devices can also be an effective alternative to scented candles and sprays.
Whatever your Fourth of July plans are, have your rescue inhaler near and talk to your doctor about the best way to enjoy the holiday safely. If you have questions about managing your asthma, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Amber Pharmacy’s Asthma Center of Excellence has a team of clinical experts available to help you manage asthma.
From all of us at Amber Pharmacy, we hope you have a fun and safe Fourth of July!