June 15, 2020
COVID-19 will mean more planning to make the 4th of July fun and safe.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 16, 2020) – There’s a good chance the town or village you live in has altered or cancelled their 4th of July events this year. You’ll probably need to make a few changes to your annual plans as well, especially if you or your kids suffer from allergies or asthma.
“This summer will see modifications in how people celebrate Independence Day,” says allergist J. Allen Meadows, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Some traditions like fireworks may go by the wayside, but frankly, fireworks can be really hard for those with asthma because smoke is a trigger for asthma symptoms. You may be better off getting creative with how you mark the day and sticking closer to home. With a little advance planning, your 4th of July can still be patriotic and fun for all.”
Here are four tips from the ACAAI to fill your 4th of July with loads of fun and an absence of allergy and asthma symptoms.
1. Avoids crowds and smoke – If you’re trying to stay safe from COVID-19, your best bet is to avoid anything resembling a crowd, whether it’s for fireworks or your local parade. Lots of people can mean close contact you are better off without. Smoke, in general, is a problem for those with asthma, so in addition to fireworks, steer clear of campfires. If you’ll be out in public for any reason, wear a mask.
2. Spikes in temps can mean spikes in symptoms – You never know what July will bring in terms of weather, but sudden changes in temperature can trigger an asthma attack. Going from steamy heat outdoors to a cold, air-conditioned building or jumping into a cold pool or lake could trigger your asthma symptoms. Indoor exercise may be a better option on a hot, humid day that includes high levels of ozone.
3. Watch out for that…bee! – Bees, wasps, hornets, and other stinging insects take up residence in the heat of summer. And if you are allergic to an insect’s sting, you need to be careful. Picnics are especially inviting, so make sure you avoid stinging insects by:
- Always wearing shoes when walking in grass where stinging insects look for food.
- Covering soft drink cans and food. Stinging insects love open cans and containers.
- Always carrying two epinephrine autoinjectors (EAI) with you and making sure you know how to use them. Epinephrine is the first line of defense against a severe allergic reaction and can be lifesaving.
4. Jump in, the water is fine! – By July 4th, most people are ready for a good dunk in a pool. But that can sometimes mean exposure to the irritating effects of chlorine. Although chlorine isn’t an allergen, it is an irritant and can cause problems with eye and nose itching. It can also cause those with asthma to have difficulty breathing. Usually, washing the affected area with clean water removes the irritant, although sometimes a corticosteroid cream may need to be prescribed. Outdoor pools are usually less of a problem than indoor ones due to better air circulation.
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.