Public Health Alert: Possible thunderstorm asthma event over the next two days

The ACT Health Directorate is warning of the potential for a thunderstorm asthma event in the ACT region on Thursday, 12 November and Friday 13 November 2020.

The warning comes as we see elevated pollen levels and the possibility of severe thunderstorms over the next two days, increasing the risk of a thunderstorm asthma event.

Thunderstorm asthma can be triggered by a combination of high grass pollen levels and a particular type of thunderstorm, which causes some people to develop severe 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 and/or asthma are encouraged to be vigilant over the next two days 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:

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:

For further information on current air quality in the ACT visit the ACT Health website:

Page last updated on: 16 Nov 2020