Asthma thunderstorm: How to treat asthma attack


People prone to respiratory conditions and hay fever were warned to take extra care today due to the risk of asthma triggered storm.

Storms are anticipated in much of NSW, prompting NSW Health's director of Environmental Health, Dr. Richard Broome, to warn of high levels of pollen in the air, which can trigger asthma and respiratory conditions when combined with storms.

"Even if you do not have asthma, you should take extra care because the pollen is at its highest level and can cause breathing difficulties in some people," said Broome.

media_cameraClose-up of a man using an inhaler. Asthma inhaler. Thinkstock

"Thunder storms cause pollen grains to burst and release fine particles that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, causing more people to shriek and sneeze," he said.

In Melbourne in 2016, about 3,600 more people than usual were hospitalized and nine died of asthma attacks after a violent storm.

"While Sydney has not had a big event like Melbourne, storm asthma events have been significant in rural areas of NSW and, while unlikely, we can not rule out a similar event going on here," Broome said.

media_cameraThunder storms can lead to serious problems for people with hay fever, asthma or other respiratory problems.

"Anyone with diagnosed asthma should take asthma medication with them at all times during this time of high risk.

"If you have asthma, make sure you have an asthma action plan and proactively manage your symptoms.

"It's also important that people get to know the first aid of asthma, so they can help family and friends when they need it," Broome said.


■ Sit the person standing;

■ Give four separate puffs from your relief puffer;

■ Wait four minutes, and if there is no improvement, take four more swallows; and

■ If there are still no improvements, dial 000.

■ Respiratory distress can be fatal. In the event of an asthma emergency dial triple-0 (000) immediately.


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