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Outdoor events, cookouts, and picnics are great ways to get together with family and friends during warmer months. If you have allergies or asthma, take steps to avoid triggers and prevent flare-ups. Make sure you have your emergency medicines, like quick-relief asthma medicines or epinephrine, with you at all times and know how to use them correctly.

1. Smoke From Barbecues or Fire Pits

Smoke from barbecues, grills, bonfires, or fire pits can trigger asthma. This includes combustion pollutants from gas grills and firepits too. If you are hosting the gathering, consider cooking most of the foods indoors and position the grill away from where people will gather. If you are attending a get-together, try to stay out of the path of smoke or fumes.

2. Insects

Insects are unwelcome guests at most outdoor celebrations. Not only are they annoying, but they can also cause serious problems for people with insect allergies. For some, they can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis [anna-fih-LACK-sis].

The most common insects that cause allergic reactions are bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants. Some people can have severe reactions to other biting insects like mosquitoes, but this is rare. If you know you have severe reactions to insect bites or stings, always carry your epinephrine auto-injectors.


3. Scents

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

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

Try to stay on the outside of the crowd at larger gatherings and away from scented items as much as possible. Bring a mask to wear for going inside to use the bathroom in case there are scented products indoors.

4. Pollen

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

During the late summer and early fall, ragweed pollen levels will be higher.

If you have a pollen allergy, check pollen counts and take steps to reduce your exposure to pollen before heading outdoors. Wearing a mask may stop allergens in the air from getting into your nose, throat, and lungs.


5. Fireworks

Fireworks aren’t just for the Fourth of July anymore. They have become part of many holidays and celebrations. But fireworks create smoke and small particulate matter that contribute to air pollution which can trigger asthma. Consider watching fireworks from a farther distance or even inside if you can find a great view.

It is important to stay up to date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other people who manage these conditions for support.

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