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Thunderstorm Asthma Attack Hits Australia

by Madhumathi Palaniappan on November 25, 2016 at 5:41 PM
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Thunderstorm Asthma Attack Hits Australia

Asthma attack that triggers after a seasonal environmental change may result in a Thunderstorm Asthma.

Hot and dry winds below a temperature of 35C in Melbourne on Monday has led to a thunderstorm which has caused the rye pollen grains to absorb the moisture and burst into smaller particles. These particles get trapped and may affect the lung health.


The pollen load on the people's lung may cause breathing issues and cardiac arrest.

Melbourne has suffered the most lethal thunderstorm asthma in the recent times. Around four people died and most of the patients were admitted to the Intensive care unit of the hospital with supportive measures.

The Health Department in Australia has confirmed that about 8500 people were admitted and treated in the last few days in Melbourne Hospitals due to the seasonal outbreak.

Victoria's Health Minister Jill Hennessy says, "Overwhelmed emergency services weren't quite sure what they were dealing with on Monday night as the demand for help soared. "

"When we have one bomb go off, we know what we're dealing with," she said. "When we've had people calling for ambulances - one call every 4 seconds at the peak - it was like having 150 bombs going off right across a particular part of metropolitan Melbourne.

"And that's something we've never really planned for."

Robin Ould, Chief Executive of the Asthma Foundation of Australia said that Thunderstorm Asthma usually occurs when there is a storm during a high rye grass pollen grain.

The pollen grains are trapped by the nose hairs that breaks it up and goes straight to the lungs.

Aziz Sheikh, Professor of Primary Care Research and Development at the University of Edinburgh also stated that previous thunderstorm asthma attacks were reported from pollen grains from Olive tree in Italy.

The nature of the pollen grains may vary according to the geography. While the grass pollen is the most common known cause of thunderstorm asthma.

He also pointed out that English-speaking countries are more prone for asthma attacks. People with severe asthma may experience more symptoms and require emergency treatment. Asthma attacks can be prevented by following proper safety measures.

Source: Medindia

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