Health alert: thunderstorms bring rare asthma risk

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Lightning cracks across Lake Burley Griffin overnight. Photo: Andrew Campbell

ELEVATED pollen levels and the possibility of severe thunderstorms over the next two days are increasing the risk of a rare thunderstorm asthma event in the ACT region today (November 22) and tomorrow.

ACT Health says thunderstorm asthma can be triggered by a combination of high grass pollen levels and a particular type of thunderstorm, which causes some people to develop severe asthma symptoms over a short period of time.

Not all thunderstorms produce an asthma event, and thunderstorm asthma is a rare event.

The directorate says people who suffer from hay fever and/or asthma should be vigilant over the next two days for any worsening of their condition. Where possible, avoid being outside during a thunderstorm – especially in the wind gusts that come before the storm. Go inside and close doors and windows, air-conditioning should be used to recirculate the air.

Anyone with asthma symptoms that are not relieved by their usual asthma treatment should seek further urgent medical advice. In the event of a medical emergency, call 000.

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