What is Thunderstorm Asthma? Access the NEW Victorian Thunderstorm Asthma forecasting system

Thunderstorm Asthma is an unusual cluster of allergic asthma flare-ups (including severe acute asthma) associated with springtime thunderstorms. It is not necessarily a special kind of asthma. However, a certain type of thunderstorm appears to be needed, together with a high pollen count(typically between October and end December), to trigger this event. Under these circumstances people who are allergic to ryegrass pollen can experience asthma symptoms during springtime thunderstorms – even if they have never had asthma before.
 
It can result in people wheezing, feeling short of breath, and tight in the chest with coughing.
 
This can be sudden, serious and life threatening.
 
A NEW Victorian Thunderstorm Asthma forecasting system considers grass pollen forecasts, weather observations and data including wind changes, temperature, rainfall and grass coverage. It will then identify the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma using a traffic light scale of: green for low, orange for moderate, and red for high - and trigger warnings if required.
The forecasting system will run from 1 October until the end of December, the typical Victorian grass pollen season. To access the forecasts, Victorians should download the VicEmergency App or visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au/prepare

If you need to update your asthma plan, book an appointment with a GP on 9450 2000.