In one week, our country will celebrate Memorial Day and honor the men and women who have died in military service. The extended weekend is traditionally also the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and family, head outdoors, and grill out. Allergies and asthma can be a concern during any event that brings people together, but following a few simple guidelines can keep you healthy all day long.
Set-up the grill in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of anything that could block air flow like awnings, dense trees, or overhead shelters. Move the grill so the smoke blows with the direction of the wind and away from the party.
Utilize the lid to control the smoke whenever possible.
Choose a gas grill over charcoal. Now this might provoke some strong feelings from grilling enthusiasts, but a gas grill simply emits fewer asthma irritants than charcoal does.
Avoid using cedar planks and wood chips. Although they might impart flavors into your food, they can also release pollen into the air as they burn. This pollen can cause asthma to flair up if inhaled.
If all else fails, let someone else do the grilling!
Have food allergies? Consider bringing your own allergen free meal. Cross contamination of allergens is common as parties and picnics when people are eating family style. Avoid the concern simply by bringing your own meal. Or if you know the hosts well, ask that you make your plate first before any cross contamination can occur.
Wear sun glasses to prevent pollen getting into your eyes.
If a bonfire is planned, follow the same recommendations as grilling listed above. Sit upwind of the direction that the smoke is blowing. Breathing in the smoke or pollen released from bonfire logs can cause asthma attacks.
Bring your medications such as an inhaler or epinephrine pen. Carry them on you so they are easy to access in an emergency.
We hope you all have an enjoyable weekend and Happy Memorial Day!