Fireworks and asthma!

Well, 4th of July is just around the corner, and neighbors are already letting off fireworks. Which means I am starting to worry.

Why? Well….because asthma and smoke are NOT a good mix. In fact, smoke from fireworks (and a nearby forest fire) landed Middle Son in the hospital once – and almost took his life.

You know you are in bad shape when they park the “crash cart” right outside your son’s hospital room….

So I relive that memory every time 4th of July rolls around.

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the aerial fireworks that the local cities light off during their summer festivals. I can ooooooh and ahhhh with everyone else.

It’s the neighborhood fireworks that get us (and our lungs.)

Kids and fireworks go hand in hand. Many a kids are mesmerized by the sparkle of fireworks in the night sky. Couple that with being able to stay up past their bedtime, and they think they are in heaven!

When I look out the window, our street is a smoky haze and looks like something out of an action movie when the bad guys are trying to destroy the earth and there is smoke everywhere.

Smoke makes it VERY difficult to breathe when you have asthma. If you want a little “light reading” you can read a scientific article from the National Institutes of Health called “Potential Impact of Fireworks and Respiratory Health” and see how the smoke from fireworks can affect asthma.

Or here’s a short quote from The American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (ACAAI):

“Fireworks and campfires are a staple of the 4th of July, but smoke can cause asthma symptoms to flare. Allergists recommend keeping your distance from campfires – and if you have to be near one, sit upwind if possible. If you can’t resist the fireworks, consider wearing a NIOSH N95 rated filter mask to keep smoke out of your lungs, and always carry your reliever inhaler.”

It was over 15 years ago when Middle Son almost lost his life due to smoke from the fireworks and a nearby forest fire. But I still remember that night. When the next 4th of July rolled around, Middle Son wanted to go outside while Hubby and the other kids lit off fireworks.

And I wouldn’t let him. I’m such a mean mom! I opened up the curtains and turned off all the lights in the house, and we watched them from inside the safety of our house. We had a perfect view, but without the smoke.

My other two kids also have asthma, but they don’t seem to be as bothered as much by the smoke. I wanted to keep all 3 kids inside with me to watch through the window, but Hubby convinced me that I may be over reacting just a wee bit.

So that made things worse when I let the other two kids go out to watch fireworks and made Middle Son stay inside with me. How to you explain to a young child that it’s for their own good?

I tried to remind him what happened the year before. How hard he was coughing and struggling to breathe and the mad dash to the hospital.  I talked about the 3 days he spent hooked up to an I.V. getting heavy duty steroids (Solu-Mederol) to get the swelling down in his lungs. That made his face swell up and his cheeks turn red.

I reminded him of being on 6 liters of oxygen (which they said was a lot for a young child) and the respiratory therapist coming in every 2 – 4 hours to check on him and give him a breathing treatment of albuterol. 

All in all, it’s a time I would rather forget. But I can’t. This is what happens with asthma. And I can learn from every situation – what would I do differently?

I avoid smoke during the 4th of July. Aerial fireworks? Yes please! Neighborhood fireworks with all the smoke in the street? Nope.

Anyone else have problems around fireworks and smoke?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

Poll