So what is this Thunderstorm Asthma everyone is talking about?

Over the last 35 years in Melbourne alone there has been six accounts of large thunderstorm asthma outbreaks. Researchers believe this is mostly due to the large amounts of grass pollen grains being swept up into the air by uncommon thunderstorms that have rapid changing wind, temperature and humidity. Asthma attacks can be sudden and very serious, even fatal.  With 8.6% of students having asthma (as documented by parents in CareMonkey) we recommend parents ensure their family asthma action plans are up to date and available to carers in CareMonkey. 

What causes thunderstorm asthma?

A single grass pollen grain contains up to 700 starch granules each containing grass pollen allergens. During the storm pollen grains can absorb moisture causing them to burst, releasing hundreds of these allergens into the air. They’re then blown down to ground level creating wind full of the small pollen allergens that when inhaled can penetrate deep into the airways of the lung which in turn can cause asthma.

Am I at risk of thunderstorm asthma and what are the symptoms?

Those people who have a history of asthma, hay fever (in particular seasonal hay fever) and allergies to grass pollen are all at risk.  Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath,  feeling of tightness in the chest and coughing. If you experience any of these symptoms during a thunderstorm call your emergency service immediately as these symptoms may become severe very quickly. 

Be better prepared for the next asthma thunderstorm with CareMonkey.