Red, White and Ah-choo? Not this Year

Steer clear of asthma and allergy triggers around the 4th of July

Following are some tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to help you swell with pride – and not an allergic reaction – when you see the stars and stripes of the flag.

Buzz off! – Truth is, it hurts to get stung by an insect. But some people have a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction to insect venom. If you’re one of those people, you need to know what to do in an emergency. If you experience facial swelling, difficulty breathing or another unusual reaction after an insect sting, call 911 and receive immediate emergency care, including epinephrine (adrenaline.) Follow up with an allergist, who can evaluate you for insect allergy, and possibly allergy shots that can save your life.

Fly the flag, but steer clear of smoke. – Fireworks, campfires and asthma don’t mix. Smoke can cause asthma symptoms to flare, and allergists recommend keeping your distance from both campfires and fireworks. If you are near a campfire, sit upwind if possible. Go to a 4th of July concert instead, and always carry your reliever inhaler.

Some like it hot. Some don’t. – You’ve been looking forward to the hot weather, but sudden changes in temperature can trigger an asthma attack.  Going inside a cold air-conditioned building or jumping into cold water could be a trigger. Consider indoor exercise and other activities on hot, high pollen and humid days, and watch out for “ozone alert” days. In addition, allergic symptoms from mold are common in the late summer and throughout the fall. Freshly mowed grass and dry, dusty sports fields can result in high mold exposure.

If you have symptoms keeping you from summer fun, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing and treatment plans.