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Canberra
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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Possible thunderstorm asthma event for the ACT

The ACT Health Directorate has issued a warning for a potential thunderstorm asthma event in the ACT for tomorrow, Thursday 12 November and Friday 13 November.

People who suffer from hay fever or asthma are encouraged to be vigilant over the next two days for any worsening of their condition.

ACT Health said in a statement, “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.”

The directorate says a thunderstorm asthma event is rare, and not all thunderstorms produce an asthma event.

Anyone who develops asthma symptoms is encouraged to follow their asthma action plan. If the symptoms are not relieved by usual asthma treatment, further, urgent medical advice should be sought. In the event of an emergency, call 000.

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.

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.

Given these events only occur under to a specific set of circumstances, however in late October the ACT experienced an instance of thunderstorm asthma.

The onset of two separate thunderstorm asthma events in the span of just three weeks is due to longer grass off the back of the large amount of rain the Canberra region has received throughout spring.

ACT residents who suffer from asthma or hay fever are reminded to check in with their doctor or pharmacist to ensure their treatments and action plans are up-to-date.

Canberrans can monitor pollen levels with the AirRater app, and daily levels of grass pollen levels in the ACT via the Canberra Pollen Count and Forecast Service.

For more information about managing asthma and hay fever, visit the ACT Health website.

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