How to Avoid Allergy and Asthma Triggers During Outdoor Holiday Celebrations


Date: 06.03.2018

Outdoor events, cookouts and picnics are great ways to get together with family and friends to celebrate. If you have allergies and asthma, be aware of possible triggers and allergens around you and take steps to prevent flare-ups.

1. Smoke from Barbecues or Fire Pits

Smoke from fires such as barbecues, bonfires or fire pits can also trigger asthma. If you are hosting the party, consider cooking indoors. If you are attending someone else’s party, try to stay out of the path of smoke. 

2. Insects

Insects are unwelcome guests at most outdoor celebrations. Not only are they annoying, but they can also cause serious problems for those with insect allergies, especially to stinging insects. For some, they can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis).

The most common stinging insects that cause allergic reactions are bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants. Some people even have severe reactions to biting insects like mosquitoes. If you know you have severe reactions to insect bites or stings, be sure to carry your epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times.

3. Pollen

The top pollen in many areas during the summer is grass pollen. In northern regions of the United States, grasses usually pollinate in the late spring or early summer. In southern regions, grasses may pollinate throughout many seasons and could trigger symptoms throughout the year. Follow our ten tips for managing grass pollen allergy.

During the late summer and early fall, ragweed pollen causes problems. If you're celebrating when ragweed is high, follow our advice on dealing with ragweed pollen.

4. Scents

Scented products also contribute to air pollution and can trigger asthma. You may encounter:

  • scented candles (like those to used to repel bugs outdoors)
  • scented oil in tiki torches
  • strong perfume or cologne on other guests
  • odor-hiding fragrances and air fresheners

If scents trigger your asthma, you may need to send a polite request to the host in advance of the party to ask that they not use these types of products. It's not a fun celebration for anyone if a guest experiences breathing distress during a party.

5. Fireworks

Fireworks are aren’t just for the Fourth of July anymore. They have become part of many holiday celebrations. But fireworks create smoke and small particulate matter that contributes to air pollution which can trigger asthma. Consider watching fireworks from inside.

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