St Patrick

St Patrick’s Day and Asthma

I don’t know about you but St. Patrick’s day has always been a fun holiday in my family. I am Irish on my Dad’s side and we always took this chance to celebrate our heritage. St Patrick’s Day isn’t just about green beer in our family. There was corned beef and cabbage and an Irish soda bread to eat. In recent years we meet for a pint of Guinness at the family’s favorite watering hole. Some triggers to consider as you put on your green and celebrate your Irish Heritage (or just your love of green beer).

Alcohol is an asthma trigger

If St. Patrick’s day is just a reason to drink a different colored beer in your life then the asthma concern is probably obvious. Alcohol is an asthma trigger for some people. If you’re not sure how well your lungs will tolerate a nice stout, Irish whiskey, or a green beer, consider volunteering to be the designated driver. It’s a win-win, your friends get a driver and you won’t wake up in the middle of the night with asthma symptoms or the next morning with a hangover. For me, I usually take the holiday as a chance to enjoy one of my few drinks a year, a pint of stout. I drink plenty of water and am prepared that the consequence of my indulgence may be asthma symptoms. Beer can contain sulfites which are an asthma trigger for some people. It also can contain chemicals that are similar to histamine, the chemical produced during allergic reactions.1 Whether it’s the sulfites or the histamines in the beer that give me trouble, I don’t know.

Outdoor asthma triggers

St. Patrick’s Day parades are perhaps the first excuse of the season for you to be outside enjoying spring weather. While it is lovely to go outside without a parka and multiple layers covering every extremity, you may be not so pleasantly reminded of your outdoor triggers. Mold, pollen, or environmental triggers are all potential issues you may encounter while enjoying a St. Patrick’s day parade. Be sure to check and see what the pollen and mold count forecasts are as you plan your day enjoying the festivities. As with any street fair type event, environmental triggers may suddenly pop up. Choose your preferred strategy if you find that people are smoking or have applied fragrances that are troublesome to you. When I’ve asked smokers to trade places to be downwind of me, most have been happy to accommodate or even have put their cigarettes out.

While it’s a shame to have to give up a primo parade watching spot it’s no fun to watch the parade if I can’t breathe. I wish that holidays celebrations were a time that I could completely let loose and enjoy the revelry. However, I know that too much green beer on a high mold count day watching the parade will leave me regretting my choices the next morning at the minimum if not for several days. How do you balance your favorite holiday celebrations when they include asthma triggers? Any favorite asthma friendly St. Patrick’s Day activities?

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.
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