“The 4th of July is a favorite holiday for many Americans because it’s in the middle of summer and folks can enjoy lovely weather with their festivities,” says allergist Mark Corbett, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “But that doesn’t mean allergy and asthma symptoms won’t flare. Those with asthma need to be cautious at events where smoke will be featured. Smoke in any form – from fireworks, bonfires, or campfires – should be on the list of things to bypass.”
Read on for more tips from ACAAI on the best ways to join in the fun – while avoiding allergy and asthma flares.
- I’ll take mine rare, please – Did you know you can get a meat allergy from a tick bite? Sadly, it’s true that a bite from the Lone Star Tick can cause you to be allergic to red meats. Meat from any kind of mammal — beef, lamb, pork, goat, and even whale and seal — can cause an allergic reaction. While meat allergyis uncommon, more cases have been reported in the past few years and the numbers continue to rise due to increased recognition of the diagnosis. See an allergist if you suspect you have a meat allergy.
- It sure is hot out… Although some people enjoy very hot weather, sudden changes in temperature can trigger anasthma attack. Going inside a cold air-conditioned building from the heat or jumping into cold water could be a trigger. In cases of extreme heat or humid, high pollen days, stay inside as much as possible. You might also consider indoor exercise, if possible.
- Dive in! – Summer means time in the water, and July 4th can include swimming pools along with lakes and beaches. Some people fear a chlorine allergy. While chlorine isn’t actually an allergen, it can be irritating, causing eye and nose itching. And it can cause some people with asthma to have trouble breathing. Usually washing the affected skin area with clean water removes the irritant, although sometimes, a corticosteroid cream may need to be prescribed.
- Bring on the picnics – no ants invited – July 4th is the perfect time to host friends and family for a wonderful meal. Even though an outside gathering generally causes less stress than a huge indoor party, there are still food allergies to consider. If you are hosting, make sure your guests know the ingredients in the dishes you’re serving. And if it’s potluck, let guests know what items they need to avoid. Ask guests to bring dishes that don’t include any common allergens and consider labels so everyone knows what they’re eating.
- Where will the celebrations be held? – If you have grass or pollen allergies and your festivities will be outside, take your allergy medications well in advance of the event. Keep in mind that you need to give your allergy medications time to work if you’ll be encountering seasonal allergens. And if you suffer from asthma, make sure you are consistent with your quick-relief and long-term control medications. Your allergist is specially trained to create a plan for you that will keep your asthma symptoms under control.
If your allergy and asthma symptoms are keeping you from summer fun, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing. An allergist can help you live the life you want. Use the ACAAI allergist locator to find an allergist in your area.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy, and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.