Asthma & Festivals

With good planning and common sense there is no reason why asthma, rhinitis or allergies should interfere with your experience at concerts and music festivals.

Asthma Advice when attending festivals

Although there is no such thing as a risk-free event, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of running into trouble with asthma or allergies. Before the event, visit your G.P. to review your treatment and discuss an Asthma Action Plan that will help you manage your asthma on daily basis and ensure you know how to deal with an emergency situation.

Boy blowing dandelion

Hay Fever

Symptoms of Rhinitis:

  • Sneezing

  •  Itchy, blocked or runny nose.

  • Red, itchy or watery eyes.

  • Itchy throat, inner ear or mouth.

  • Headaches.

  • A loss of concentration and generally feeling unwell.

It is difficult to avoid exposure of allergies e.g. pollen, moulds and spores at outdoor events. It is advisable that before attending outdoor events, people with rhinitis and hay fever should:

  • Check pollen forecast for the region.

  • Bring appropriate medication and an extra supply as they maybe mislaid.

crowd at concert

Antihistamines are an example of medication for the treatment of hay fever and rhinitis symptoms. These are available in tablet, capsule, and liquid form. 

* Special Warning: Please refer to advice/guidelines on the medication itself. Exercise caution when using the above medication and consuming alcohol. 

Decongestant Sprays relieve stuffy noses; however, these sprays should only used for a few days at a time as they can have rebound effects.

Preventer Treatments: (Steroid Nasal Sprays) can be used to prevent nose and eye symptoms developing. They are available in Eye drops, Nasal drops and Nasal sprays. These should already be commenced a few weeks prior to the event. Most pollen is released mid-morning and late afternoon. People who suffer with rhinitis and hay fever should avoid sitting in campsites at times of high pollen. To reduce exposure, close tents when the pollen count is high. The following simple steps can also help alleviate symptoms:

  • Splash eyes with water regularly

  • Wear wrap around sunglasses

  • Smear vaseline inside your nose to prevent pollen inhalation

  • Wash sleeping bags prior to use at 60 degrees

  • Take medication prior to pitching your tent as the levels of pollen may be disturbed.

  • If possible, ask a friend or family member to pitch your tent for you

Happy hikers

Camping with Asthma and Allergies


Carry an Asthma Attack Card with you at all times (Click here to download an Asthma Attack Card or call the Asthma Society of Ireland on 01 8178886 to order one).

Bring spare medication in case your medication is lost. Easy accessibility is imperative at all times so ensure you always carry your reliever inhaler with you. Be aware of triggers that may affect your asthma, for example:

  • Weather Changes: such as cold air and humidity.
  • Allergies: such as dust, pollen and moulds.
  • Exercise: (e.g. Dancing at a concert) Use reliever medication. 15-20 minutes prior to dancing at a gig/concert if exercise is a trigger.
  • Air Pollutants: such as cigarette smoke, aerosols and CO2 (dry ice).
  • Food & Drink: Alcohol in excess may mask or trigger asthma symptoms. Some people may find sensitivities to certain food may trigger their symptoms.

For people with allergies, unexpected exposure to an allergen may have a potential impact on their weekend. Common problems include:

  • Large local reactions to insect bites
  • Accidental exposure to hidden foods.
  • Drug allergies.
  • However much can be done to prevent accidental exposure to manage local allergy symptoms
  • Spray exposed areas of the body with insect repellent prior to going out
  • Carry antihistamine cream and apply it liberally.

Antihistamine tablets e.g. for multiple or severe reaction

Boy sneezing

Major Allergies

If a person is allergic to a specific food or drug, they need to carry medication such as EpiPen or Anapen Injection is vital and should be accessible at all times.
They should also ensure the following
  • A Letter from G.P stipulating allergies
  • Wear Medic Alert bracelet at all times giving details of allergies and how to treat them.
  • Have two adrenaline kits with them
  • Instruct a family member/friend how to inject same
  • Know where the Medical Tents are.
  • Check the "Health and Safety Page" of the web site of the festival you are attending.
If a person has a nut allergy be vigilant about purchasing food that may contain nuts, seeds etc from selling vendors. Taking your own food may be an option.
With good planning, preparation and being aware of the resources available there is no reason why you should not have an enjoyable time.
For more information or medical advice contact the Asthma Society Helpline on 1800 44 54 64

In An Emergency:

  • Alert a friend
  • Go to the medical tent
  • Keep Calm- do not panic.

In case of an asthma attack, ensure your friends are aware of the Five Step Rule. If you have no inhaler alert a friend to accompany you to a medical tent, but if symptoms are severe, seek medical assistance urgently.