Be Allergy and Asthma-Free This July Fourth

Be Allergy and Asthma-Free This July Fourth

Enjoying a Sneezing and Wheezing-Free Fourth of July: Tips from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology


As we gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends and family, it’s essential to keep in mind the potential allergies and asthma triggers that might dampen our festivities. Dr. Kathleen May, President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), advises that while we enjoy the joys of summer, we also need to take a few extra precautions to ensure a safe and sneeze- and wheeze-free holiday.

Beware of Smoke!

One common element of July Fourth celebrations is smoke, whether from fireworks, bonfires, or campfires. Dr. May cautions those with asthma to be especially careful around these types of events as smoke inhalation can trigger flare-ups. So, while enjoying the spectacle of fireworks or sitting around a campfire, people with asthma should be mindful of the potential risks associated with smoke exposure.

Avoiding “Wings and Stings”

To prevent allergic reactions from bee stings or other insect bites, the ACAAI suggests carrying two doses of an epinephrine auto-injector if you have previously experienced such reactions. Additionally, wearing shoes while walking in grassy areas where stinging insects may be present can help you avoid any unwelcome encounters. Remember to keep soft drink cans and food covered as insects are attracted to open containers.

Temperature Swings and Asthma

Frequent changes in temperature can trigger asthma symptoms. Going from a hot picnic area to a cold pool or an air-conditioned room may cause your asthma to flare up. If you anticipate these temperature swings, it’s best to plan accordingly. Consider indoor workouts on steamy days with high ozone levels rather than exposing yourself to sudden temperature changes.

The Unusual Case of Meat Allergies

Did you know that a bite from a Lone Star tick could lead to an allergy to red meat? This tick is now found in most parts of the United States, and beef, lamb, pork, and sometimes high-fat dairy products like ice cream can trigger an allergic reaction in those affected. Although rare, cases of meat tick allergies are increasing. If you suspect you have this allergy, it’s important to seek advice from an allergist for appropriate diagnosis and management.

Pesky Grass and Pollen Allergies

Summer doesn’t exempt you from seasonal allergies like grass and pollen. The ACAAI advises taking allergy medications in advance of any outdoor events to prevent symptoms from spoiling your day. Remember to consistently use your quick-relief and long-term maintenance asthma medications to keep your symptoms under control.

Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS)

Sometimes, consuming raw fruits and vegetables can trigger symptoms like tingling lips, a scratchy throat, an itchy mouth, or even swelling of the lips or mouth. These reactions may be indicative of Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS), which occurs when allergens found in both pollen and raw/fresh produce cross-react. The good news is that PFAS symptoms typically do not progress beyond the mouth. If you suspect you have PFAS, consult with your allergist to determine if it’s a pollen-related cross-reaction.

Prioritize Summer Fun

If allergies are impacting your ability to enjoy summer to the fullest, it’s crucial to consult with an allergist. They can provide personalized advice and treatment options to help you manage your allergies effectively, allowing you to make the most of the season.

Image Question: Allergies can best be described as:

Answer: Allergies are exaggerated immune responses to substances that are generally harmless, such as pollen or certain food items.

For more information on outdoor food safety, refer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, news release, June 27, 2023