Melbourne recently experienced a mass incident of ‘Thunderstorm asthma’. Epworth Respiratory Physician and Allergist Dr Michael Sutherland offers his recommendations for avoiding thunderstorm asthma.
When does it happen?
Several days of elevated pollen counts and warm conditions, followed by a sudden cool change, causes a rupture of pollen grains into tiny particles. These can be breathed into the lower airways and cause asthma.
Should I be concerned?
2016 appears by far the most severe epidemic of thunderstorm asthma, both in reported cases and fatalities. More analysis by experts from Bureau of Meteorology, Environmental Protection Agency and others are analysing weather conditions to enhance predictions and warnings.
How do I avoid thunderstorm asthma?
- Be aware of thunderstorm warnings
- Stay inside during a storm
- Be mindful of any asthma symptoms (coughing, chest tightness, wheezing)
- Monitor pollen counts
- If you have one, take your preventer regularly.