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Ask A Geek: Planning an Asthma-safe Valentine’s Day

Prior to 2020, the Lung Health Foundation operated as the Ontario Lung Association. Enjoy this content from our archives.

Dear BreathingGeek,
It’s my first Valentine’s Day with my new GF and I really wanna impress her. But the weird weather has left her with a lingering asthma flare-up and none of my usual go-to gifts or date ideas are gonna work (good-bye, candlelight dinner and fancypants perfume). It’s my first time dating a person with asthma. Help!
– Lovestruck in London


Dear LiL,

Can we all just take a second to commend this thoughtful-as-hell person on taking their partner’s asthma into account?

A young woman gives a thumbs-up 


Now let’s make sure you take her breath away in all the right ways.

You’re already on track with avoiding the classics like candles or perfume. Add scented products to the NOPE list. For someone with triggered airways, scented products can spell bad, bad news because they can emit a bouquet of volatile organic compounds (or VOCs – not exactly the stuff of romance). Even so-called “natural” scents can trigger someone who is prone to allergies and asthma.

Here are some BreathingGeek-approved, asthma-safe gifts:

  • Safe(r) flowers: Roses are red, and can cause flare-ups, too. Stick to blooms with low fragrance – like tulips, boo.
  • Stuff that supports your partner’s active hobbies: People with asthma can totally live active + healthy lives when their condition is under control. Even if a flare-up had her laid-up for now, following her asthma action plan will eventually get her up and running (or skiing, or kickboxing, or hiking, or yoga-ing). Remind her that this isn’t forever and even sweeten the deal with plans to try her favourite activity out together once she’s breathing her best!
  • Cozy stuff: Spring is forever away. And cold n’ flu season is still a minefield for someone with sensitive lungs.  Think a warm blanket (machine washable, to keep things dust-free), lounge-worthy clothes for days she needs to take things easy, or a cute scarf to cover her nose/mouth when the air hits that why-does-the-air-hurt-my-face temperature.

And if you’re really feeling like an asthma hero, consider a homemade card paired with a donation in your girlfriend’s honour!

Live long and prosper,


Have a question for our resident BreathingGeek? Email, or click here to access our Lung Health Info Line (phone or live chat), where you can speak directly to a Certified Respiratory Educator. It’s free and confidential.

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