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Hallowe’en dangers for asthmatics

The Asthma Society of Ireland is urging people of all ages, with asthma and allergies, to take special care this Halloween and be mindful of the triggers that can worsen their symptoms.

Hallowe’en can be a dangerous time for asthma sufferers, especially children, as there are many common triggers that will be magnified by its activities, worsening asthma symptoms. In Ireland, asthma affects one in 10 adults, and one in five children. Approximately one person a week dies as a result of asthma, yet 90% of these deaths are preventable.

John Holohan, Asthma Society head of communications said, “Changes in weather, excitement and certain foods coupled with additional triggers such as smoke from bonfires and fireworks can all affect respiratory conditions, making Halloween a tricky time for asthma and allergy sufferers, especially children.

Top Hallowe’en asthma tips:

Make sure you or your child’s reliever (blue) is available at all times.

Make sure that new Hallowe’en costumes do not contain latex. If the costumes have been stored since last year, be aware they could contain dust and moulds. Wash them before use.

Halloween masks can interfere with breathing, so children with asthma should opt for a half mask or no mask at all. Be mindful of masks, which may contain latex.

If your child’s asthma is triggered by dampness or frosty conditions, check the weather forecast. Trick-or-treating in cold, frosty weather can cause asthma symptoms to flare up.

Gunpowder residue, used in fireworks, can be a powerful trigger. If there is a likelihood of fireworks make sure your child has taken extra reliever inhaler before leaving home.

Smoke from bonfires may act as an irritant and trigger an asthma attack; as such it is advisable to avoid bonfires.

Colds and flu viruses are common asthma triggers. If your child is suffering from a cold or flu always give them their medication as prescribed and ensure they wash their hands to stop the spread of colds and viruses.

If your child has a food allergy check any sweets, nuts or chocolate they collect trick or treating to ensure it is safe for your child to consume.

The Asthma Society urges everyone with asthma to put an asthma action plan in place. To get yours, ask your GP or call 1850 44 54 64. You can also download one from www.asthma.ie or use the plan on the Asthma Coach App for iPhone.

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