What is thunderstorm asthma?
30
August

By Adem Lewis / in , , /


Thunderstorm asthma is a very
interesting phenomenon, we don’t get it in Queensland. It only happens when
you’ve got the right, or the wrong, geography and the right things
with allergens. The reason that it happens in Melbourne, is that there’s a
combination of the ryegrass pollen that comes from the plains of New South
Wales and Victoria, and Victoria and Melbourne’s particularly changeable
weather. So this happens during summer where it’s been very hot and
dry and there’s a lot of grass pollen in the air. A cold change comes through, which is the thunderstorm, and there’s a sudden drop in pressure
and so all of the pollen in the air is forced down towards the ground. Grass
pollen is too big to inhale, but when water hits it, it shatters into
hundreds of thousands of tiny little pieces. So you have the combination
of the hot dry pollen in the air, rapid drop in barometric pressure, thunderstorm
for the rain and you get these billions of tiny allergen particles that people
inhale. Most people who get thunderstorm asthma already know they have asthma,
already know they’re allergic to grass. It can trigger something in someone who
hasn’t had it before because of the very large dose and the patterns of
thunderstorm asthma are somewhat different in adults and children. Adults seem to get
sick straight away, children may not get sick
for 8 to 12 hours after the thunderstorm event and it’s the way their bodies
respond.


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