Warning from asthma charity

Asthma UK warns that bonfire smoke and cold weather can trigger asthma attacks.
Asthma UK warns that bonfire smoke and cold weather can trigger asthma attacks.
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Bonfires and fireworks could cause potentially fatal asthma attacks, an asthma charity has warned.

The smoke fumes from burning wood and firework displays can linger in the air creating localised pollution, which could cause asthma attacks for the 5.4 million people in the UK with the condition, says Asthma UK.

The charity advises that the smoke from bonfires coupled with cold and wet weather, which can also trigger asthma symptoms, could be a ‘deadly’ combination. The warning comes after weather forecasts predict that temperatures could drop as low as -5 at the weekend.

Asthma UK has advice for people with asthma on how to cope with Bonfire Night, saying it is vital people have their reliever inhaler with them at all times.

Asthma UK’s in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore, said: “Lots of people love the excitement of Bonfire Night, but for some people with asthma it could be deadly. We don’t want people with asthma to miss out but we want them to be safe and aware of the increased risk this Bonfire Night when pollution will be higher than normal.

“We are urging people with asthma, or parents of children with asthma, to make sure they have their reliever inhaler with them, and want people’s friends and family to know what to do if their asthma symptoms suddenly get worse.”

Other tips from Asthma UK for people with asthma on Bonfire Night include: take your preventer medicines as prescribed; if you find that smoke is making you cough, stand well back and admire the fireworks from a distance; and if it’s cold, wrap a scarf over your nose and mouth.

To find out more people can call the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800 or visit the Asthma UK website at www.asthma.org.uk/bonfire-night.