It’s all fun and games (and barbecues and boating) until your allergies kick in and put a pause on your Fourth of July celebrations. Whether you struggle with food or environmental allergies, there are steps you can take to help steer clear of reactions this holiday weekend.
Avoid environmental triggers
In early July, grass and trees are the most prominent environmental allergies. When their pollen is inhaled, the body can react with itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and more — it’s called allergic rhinitis.
If you know you’ll be spending more time outside than usual over the holiday weekend — or maybe you’ll be camping and sleeping outdoors — pre-treat yourself with antihistamines. Take an antihistamine as directed, a few days to a week before the holiday weekend, to help to block allergy symptoms before they even start.
Avoid allergy symptoms in the eyes (allergic conjunctivitis) by keeping your sunglasses on when outside; they act as a physical barrier to help keep the pollen out. If you happen to touch grass or trees with your hands, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid transferring pollen into your eyes.
Though it’s tempting to stretch out in the grass, it’s best not to have direct contact with your problematic allergens as it can cause allergic skin reactions. Set out a blanket or a towel, or grab a chair, before picnicking directly on the grass.
Allergy-friendly barbecue options
A key element of the Fourth of July tradition is a barbecue. Whether you have a food allergy, or someone you’re celebrating with does, you may have to modify your classic Independence Day menu.
An allergy to meat is rare, so typical grilling food is generally an allergy-crowd-pleaser. Add gluten-free buns to your cart to accommodate those with an allergy to wheat or gluten intolerance, or go without the bun. For the vegetarians in your group, go for a bean-based burger:
Fruit and vegetables can be safer bets for most, and they’re a healthy option, too. Get creative and make fruit kabobs or place fruit on a cookie sheet in the shape of the American flag. Try these fun fruit recipes:
Don’t be scared to reach beyond your typical recipes to accommodate those with food allergies in your group. The Internet is a big place — search for your favorite recipe with “dairy-free” “gluten-free” or whatever allergen is the issue — to find a slew of recipe alternatives. Here are a few:
As the host, it’s great to offer alternatives, and as the guest with food allergies, it’s always good to bring your own safe food options — just in case.
Treating the cause
The root cause of both food and environmental allergies can be treated with allergy drop immunotherapy. Treatment slowly introduces your body to offending allergens with the goal of building tolerance over time. Many patients, and providers, see the benefits in allergy drops because they can be a safe, effective, affordable, and convenient option to take wherever you are — from your home to your Fourth of July celebrations.
Find a provider near you who reports using allergy drops following The La Crosse Method™ Protocol to get started.