Mardi Gras Asthma

Planning Key To Mardi Gras Asthma Control

Mardi Gras. Getty Images

While Mardi Gras is a time for family, fun, fetes, and all sorts of frolicking, it can be really hard on asthma without some preparation.

Depending on the weather in New Orleans, it could be super cold and rainy, or really hot and humid with tons of pollen and other asthma triggers. You may have a hard time remembering to take your medication with everything going on or you may find most of the doctor’s offices closed when you need some help.

Here are a number of things that you can do to try to keep your asthma control in check this Mardi Gras season and hopefully out of the emergency room with an asthma attack.

Cold Weather

Research has indicated cold weather is the worst for some asthmatics. Masks are all over the city at Mardi Gras so consider wearing one or at least a scarf. This will decrease the amount of cold air getting to your lungs and also acts as a pseudo-filter for large particulate matter.

Breathe Through Your Nose

Don’t breathe through your mouth. While you may be gaping wide open at the beautiful Mardi Gras floats or imbibing in the spirits that flow plentifully this time of year in the “Big Easy,” breathing through your nose is much better.

Your nose warms air and filters out all sorts of potential asthma triggers that are not filtered out when breathing through your mouth.


Sneezing, wheezing, watery, itchy eyes and a runny nose are common with warmer Mardi Gras weather, being outside hours at a time, and pollens and other airborne triggers.

All can lead to asthma symptoms such as:

Other Mardi Gras Asthma Tips

Here are some additional Mardi Gras asthma tips:

  • Make sure you always have your rescue inhaler handy on the parade route. This could be particularly dangerous as you have no idea what might trigger your asthma on the parade route and you might not be close to medical personnel.

  • Continue to take your asthma medication regularly and do not let the fun have you forgetting your regular meds.

  • Many doctor’s offices are closed during the holiday so make sure your asthma action plan is up to date.

Not All That Wheezes Is Asthma

Many of you may have heard the adage “all that wheezes is not asthma.” As an intern, a first-year physician out of medical school, a colleague came across a case of what she thought was asthma. The child was the right age, right symptoms, and a pretty typical presentation. The only problem was she did not get better with the typical treatment. She eventually underwent a bronchoscopy, a special lighted, flexible scope is inserted into the lungs, and surprisingly the lung specialist found a Mardi Gras bead that was not showing up on x-ray! Happy Mardi Gras.


1.Yamaguchi M, Tanaka A, Yokoe T, Hashimoto N, Yamamoto M, Watanabe Y, Ohta S, Mizuma H, Ohwaki A, Adachi M. Assessment of climates affecting the control of bronchial asthma. Arerugi. 2013 Feb;62(2):171–8.
2. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Ragweed Allergy. 
3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: February 13, 2015. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of AsthmaG

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