Twelfth of July: ‘Don’t forget your inhalers’ warns lung charity ahead of Eleventh Night bonfires

Thousands gathered at Craigyhill Eleventh Night bonfire in Larne
-Credit: (Image: Belfast Live)

People in Northern Ireland with asthma, COPD and other lung conditions are being urged to take extra care at the Eleventh Night celebrations to avoid potentially life-threatening asthma attacks and flare-ups.

The warning from Asthma + Lung UK Northern Ireland comes as their annual lung survey reveals 45% of people surveyed in Northern Ireland said air pollution is a respiratory trigger and 80% said air pollution makes their lung condition worse.

Charity experts warn particles of smoke can irritate airways, causing them to become inflamed and tighten. This results in coughing and wheezing and makes it very difficult for people to breathe.

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People with lung conditions such as asthma or COPD should stand well back from bonfires and make sure they have their reliever inhaler (usually blue) with them to relieve symptoms if they get them.

Joseph Carter Head of Asthma + Lung UK Northern Ireland said: “Air pollution negatively impacts the majority of people we surveyed in Northern Ireland and people should take extra care when attending a display. We advise anyone with a lung condition such as asthma or COPD to stand well back from bonfires and make sure you have your reliever inhaler with you to relieve symptoms as they come on.

“If you are going with friends and family make sure they know what to do in an asthma attack. Smoke from bonfires can stay in the air for quite a long time, creating areas of air pollution that can trigger asthma attacks or symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.

“The good news is if people follow our top tips such as taking their preventer inhaler (usually brown) as prescribed, keeping their reliever inhaler (usually blue) with them and making sure their family and friends know what to do if they have an asthma attack, they shouldn’t have to miss out on festivities.“

Asthma + Lung UK Northern Ireland is urging people with lung conditions to stay well during the Eleventh Night celebrations by following these top tips:

  • Take your preventer medicines as prescribed

  • Always carry your reliever inhaler with you

  • If you find that smoke is making you cough, stand well back from the fire

  • Make sure your friends and family know what to do and when to get help if your asthma symptoms suddenly get worse

  • Visit our website to share the charity’s ‘what to do in an asthma attack’ advice with friends and family.

More health advice on how to stay well with a lung condition is available here.

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