Breathing problems? Fireworks on the Fourth can hurt air quality

Posted at 8:26 AM, Jul 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-04 10:26:37-04

BOZEMAN – Fireworks can be a great display, but the smoke from them can be difficult on your breathing. They fill the sky with beautiful color but the smoke that comes after the show can potentially be dangerous to your lungs. 

According to allergist and immunologist Michael Zacharisen, MD, “the smoke that can come off the fumes, the particulate matter within the smoke is especially harmful for people with asthma or COPD.”

If you know you have asthma, one of the best ways to be prepared for any breathing problems with fireworks is to have your inhaler on hand with you. Even if you don’t have asthma, it is something to look out for.

"People who don’t have asthma, it can trigger cough, increased phlegm in the lungs or mucus, wheezing and chest tightness,” Zacharisen said.

There are a few simple things you can do to alleviate these symptoms if they occur.

“Some place where there is fresh air, get away from the smoke, drink plenty of water. If the symptoms continue, then seek care from your doctor or the emergency room,” Zacharisen said.

You can also prevent breathing difficulties associated with fireworks.

He continued, “keeping your distance is a good idea. The other thing is if you can stay upwind, if that’s possible, from the fireworks or such as a campfire, that can be helpful.”

While enjoying firework shows for the holiday, make sure to look out for any of these symptoms to ensure a safe celebration.