Health warning of rare thunderstorm asthma event

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ACT Health is warning of a possible, rare thunderstorm asthma event in the ACT this weekend.

The directorate says elevated pollen levels and the possibility of severe thunderstorms will increase the risk of a thunderstorm asthma event.

Thunderstorm asthma can be triggered by a combination of high grass pollen levels and some thunderstorms, which causes some people to develop asthma symptoms over a short period of time.

Not all thunderstorms produce an asthma event, and thunderstorm asthma is a rare event.
However, Health says people who suffer from hay fever or asthma should be vigilant over the weekend 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 your doors and windows. If you have your air conditioning on, turn it on to recirculate,” says Health.

“If you develop asthma symptoms, follow your asthma action plan. If you experience asthma symptoms that are not relieved by your usual asthma treatment, you should seek further urgent medical advice. In the event of a medical emergency you should call 000.

A useful resource to help monitor pollen levels is the free AirRater smartphone app, which provides users with real-time information on air quality. Download the app at

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  1. This is embarrassing to admit, especially as a person with asthma, but I didn’t realize thunderstorms could cause asthma events. I live in the U.S., but I’m going to ask my pulmonologist about this when I next visit. Thanks for the heads up!

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