What’s the problem with firework displays and asthma?
Fireworks and bonfires can increase local air pollution levels, especially during big fireworks celebrations like New Year.
Breathing in the smoke and chemicals can irritate your airways and trigger asthma symptoms.
The air can stay polluted for a while after the display, especially if it’s a still night with no wind to blow pollution away.
Keep managing your asthma well to cut your risk
“The most important thing is to make sure you’ve been looking after your asthma well so you can cope better with the poor air quality at a fireworks display,” says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s in-house GP.
“You can help cut your risk of asthma symptoms and an asthma attack by always taking your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed, going to your asthma reviews, and using a written asthma action plan.”
5 top tips to stay well with your asthma at firework displays
- Always have your reliever inhaler with you so you can quickly deal with symptoms if the smoky air triggers them.
- Make sure the people you’re with know what to do and when to get help if your asthma symptoms suddenly get worse. Have a copy of your action plan on your phone.
- Don’t stand too close to the bonfire if you’re going to a big display. And check which direction the wind is blowing in so you can avoid too much smoke.
- Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose if it’s cold out. This helps warm up the air before you breathe it in.
- Consider staying indoors if fireworks have brought on your asthma symptoms before, particularly if air quality is already poor.
If you’re worried about your asthma, or your child’s asthma, contact our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (9am – 5pm; Mon – Fri). Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728
Last updated January 2020
Next review due January 2023