The ACT Health Directorate is warning of the potential for a thunderstorm asthma event in the ACT, this coming weekend.
The warning comes as, leading into the weekend, we see elevated pollen levels and the possibility of severe thunderstorms, increasing 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, people who suffer from hay fever or asthma are encouraged to 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 onto recirculate.
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.
This is also a reminder for Canberrans who suffer from asthma and hay fever to see their doctor or pharmacist to make sure their treatment and action plans are up-to-date during the pollen season.
A useful resource to help Canberrans monitor pollen levels is the free AirRater Smartphone app, which provides users with real-time information on air quality. To download the free AirRater smartphone application: https://airrater.org/
For more information on managing asthma and hay fever:
For daily levels of grass pollen in the ACT, visit the Canberra Pollen Count and Forecast Service: http://www.canberrapollen.com.au
For further information on current air quality in the ACT, visit the ACT Health website: https://health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/population-health/environmental-monitoring/monitoring-and-regulating-air