By Jana Bounds
The Fourth of July is a time of patriotism and family gatherings: barbeques, sunshine, reconnection, and of course the staple every 4th: fireworks. Although undeniably beautiful, fireworks are also characterized by the Moffitt Cancer Center as things of “toxic beauty.”
These beautiful toxins impact those with migraines, asthma, heart disease (short-term smoke exposure is linked to heart attacks and arrythmias) and other respiratory conditions. And research shows that people with asthma are 62% more likely to have migraine than people without, and those with migraine have a 56% higher chance of having asthma than those without migraine.
All Those Heavy Metals in the Air
“Particulate matter, such as PM 2.5 and black carbon or soot, is emitted with any type of combustion. But with fireworks, that smoke also includes toxic metals,” according to NPR.
Smoke from fireworks is way more toxic than any other pollutants we often encounter.
It makes sense when you consider the ingredients: gun powder, accelerant, heavy metals (like lead and copper), and a plethora of contaminants like ozone, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Instead of throwing a wet blanket on your Fourth of July festivities, we are sharing tips to help you navigate celebrations as best you can – to hopefully help you enjoy time with your family and friends and avoid any trips to the emergency room.
Fourth of July Tips for Migraineurs
Fourth of July Tips for Those with Asthma and Respiratory Conditions
And here’s an interesting tidbit: Many doctors believe that better asthma control can help ease migraines.
Although researchers haven’t proven for sure that asthma attacks can prompt migraines, many patients believe that they get “asthma headaches,” Dennis K. Ledford, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of South Florida College of Medicine told WebMD. He offers a possible explanation: “Asthma’s stressful, and stress is one of the provocateurs of migraine.”
It might be tempting, especially during times of celebration, to try and forget that you have a health condition that puts your good times at risk. Denial, particularly in this case, is counterproductive. Asthma and migraines are both conditions you can’t just forget about, mainly since a lack of preparation or even a brief lapse of judgement can spell days of pain in the head or in the chest.
Plan ahead to help yourself and your loved ones have a fantastic Fourth of July and dodge asthma attacks and migraine pain!
Note to Parents:
Kids lungs are sensitive to the toxins from fireworks as well, so look out for their air quality and breathing. Also, children are sensitive to loud noises, so help protect their ears.