Asthma UK say traditional treats and activities like eating chocolate eggs or taking part in outdoor activities could leave people with asthma at risk of a life-threatening attack.
New analysis has revealed that around 700 people could be admitted to hospital over the bank holiday weekend because of an asthma attack.
People with allergies to wheat, eggs, nuts and dairy products as well as having asthma could find that eating Easter eggs, Simnel cake or hot cross buns could trigger their asthma symptoms. Other Spring activities such as outdoor Easter egg hunts could also trigger asthma attacks in people who are sensitive to pollen. If people have a food allergy, when they come into contact with a food allergen it causes their immune system to overreact and release a chemical called histamine. This causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction, which can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose, sneezing, a scratchy or sore throat and itchy skin. For people with asthma, this can then trigger an attack where the airways start to tighten, leaving them coughing, wheezing and gasping for breath.
According to research by Asthma UK, an estimated 4.3 million Britons with asthma have said that their symptoms are triggered by pollen. At this time of year, many trees including birch, willow and elm are releasing pollen into the air.
A pollen allergy can irritate the nose, eyes and throat. This causes typical hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny or blocked nose, which can lead to asthma symptoms.
Asthma UK, provides health advice including an expert nurse-staffed telephone helpline for people with asthma and is calling for people with the condition to make sure they take their preventer inhaler (usually brown) which will protect them from Easter asthma triggers and could save their life. It is also urging them to get advice on how to deal with their asthma triggers, especially pollen and food allergies.
Lyn Kendall, 61, a psychologist has been hospitalised ten times during the Easter period due to her asthma.
She said: “Most people love Easter, but for me it’s a nightmare because of my asthma. I’ve been in hospital ten times because tree pollen, which I have a severe allergy to, comes out around Easter time and then triggers an asthma attack. If I popped to the shops, one minute I’d be fine and the next my face would swell up.”