Close-up of an Easter EGg and some sweeties

Chocolate eggs and other surprising Easter asthma triggers

Could a piece of chocolate make your asthma worse? And, what other surprising triggers should you look out for over Easter?

For many people, the Easter Bank Holiday is all about getting together with family and friends and enjoying a long weekend. The last thing you want is for you, or your child, to suffer a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

Of course, asthma triggers are hard to avoid at any time – so, the best thing you can do is take your preventer inhaler, as prescribed. But, there are a few other simple things you can do to stay well at Easter.

1. If you’re allergic to chocolate eggs find a substitute

If chocolate triggers your asthma, you’ll probably know about it because it will be the result of a food allergy. People are often allergic to chocolate because it contains milk and milk products. So, if you’re allergic to milk and have asthma a chocolate egg could cause an asthma attack, on top of other reactions like itchy skin, a sore throat and sneezing.

If you know you’re allergic to these products, look out for vegan or dairy-free chocolate eggs instead. These are available in many supermarkets these days and are a much safer alternative.

2. Choose free-from hot cross buns if you’re allergic to wheat

An allergy to wheat or gluten can also mean avoiding other seasonal treats, like hot cross buns.

Again, there are some free-from options out there you could try instead, so you can protect yourself from making you asthma symptoms worse – and, you won’t have to feel like you’re missing out.

If you’re not 100% sure whether you have any kind of food allergy, speak to your doctor.

And, read our page on food allergies for more tips and information about the difference between a food intolerance and an allergy. 

3. Plan for pollen during Easter egg hunts

The Easter weekend is peak pollen time for some trees, such as Alder, Elm and Birch. If you have an allergy to pollen, you might have already noticed itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion, along with worse asthma symptoms.

If you’re heading outdoors for an Easter egg hunt, or to walk off that Easter Sunday roast, consider taking some hay fever medication. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about which hay fever medication might help you.

Find out more about how pollen an affects your asthma

4. Take your preventer inhaler in case of any unexpected triggers

If you’re planning anything a little out of the ordinary for the four-day weekend, you could encounter triggers you’ve never come across before. Protect your airways from any unpleasant surprises by taking your preventer, as prescribed.

That way, if there’s a strange scented candle at a friend’s house, more pollution in a city you’re visiting or lots of cigarette smoke at a barbecue, your lungs will be prepared!

Also, make sure you have your written asthma action plan with you (or, save a picture of it on your phone) so you know what to do to if your asthma symptoms flare-up at any time.  

5. Keep a reliever inhaler on hand

Did you know emotions can trigger asthma symptoms, especially in children? That’s no reason to avoid the fun of an Easter egg hunt or an adventurous day out – but, if you have a child with asthma keep their reliever nearby during any festivities. Then if they do get the giggles, you can be on hand.

6. Choose the ‘right’ type of alcohol

It’s understandable you might like to celebrate a long weekend with a drink or two – but, be aware alcohol is an asthma trigger for a lot of people. Red wine is the main culprit, followed by white wine, beer and cider. 

You may notice symptoms after one or two drinks or even just a few sips, so stay alert and switch to a non-alcoholic drink if you feel your asthma is becoming worse. As always, make sure you take your preventer inhaler, as prescribed, and have your blue reliever with you when you’re drinking, just in case.

Read more advice on understanding your asthma triggers and how to avoid them.