As Ireland heads outdoors for the festival season, sufferers of hay fever and asthma are being warned to be aware of the triggers and manage their symptoms while attending outdoor events around the country over the coming months.
470,000 people in Ireland have asthma, up to 80% of those also suffer from hay fever. The Asthma Society of Ireland is advising people to be prepared in order to avoid unnecessary sneezing, wheezing and watery eyes and more importantly to avoid triggering their asthma.
Think BREATH when attending festivals this season:
- Be prepared - have a plan in place to manage your Asthma & Hay fever; know where the medical tents are
- Remember your medication; bring a backup supply if attending a festival or event
- Eat well, limit alcohol consumption, never smoke
- Aware of current pollen count
- Tell your friends – make sure they know what to do in an emergency, and
- Have an Asthma Attack card with you at all times
Both hay fever and asthma can be triggered by an allergic reaction and many of the same allergens are known to exacerbate both conditions. If hay fever is treated effectively, it can reduce asthma symptoms and may even prevent the development of asthma.
Possible triggers for hay fever include weather changes, pollen, moulds, dust, air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, aerosols and dry ice, exercise and alcohol – all of which are common at festivals and outdoor events.
Preparation is vital – Remember your medicines and check daily the pollen count
In case of an emergency, stay calm, alert a friend and go to the medical tent.
Make sure your friends are aware of the Asthma Attack card and in the event o an emergency follow the steps below:
The 5 Step Rule
1. Stay calm. Sit up straight - do not lie down
2. Take slow steady breaths
3. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every minute
- Up to 10 puff in 10 mins for people over 6 years old
- Up to 6 puffs in 10 mins for children under 6 years old
4. Call 112 or 999 if your symptoms do not approve after 10 minutes
5. Repeat step 3 if an ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes
If you forgot your reliever inhaler, go straight to the medical tent!
More information on Asthma and Festivals
If you have asthma, hay fever can make you symptoms worse, so it is important to manage your hay fever and seek advice from your GP or pharmacist to set up a management plan.
You can also call the Asthma Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 for free and confidential advice from our asthma specialist nurse on asthma or hay fever.