Thunderstorm Asthma

Thunderstorm Asthma

Thunderstorm Asthma Info Sheet

What is thunderstorm asthma?

Thunderstorm asthma can happen suddenly to people in spring or summer when there is a lot of pollen in the air and the weather is hot, dry, windy and stormy.

People with asthma and/or hay fever need extra protection to avoid thunderstorm asthma between September and January in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. This means using preventer medicine every day and always having a reliever inhaler (blue puffer) ready. See your doctor to get the best asthma and/or hay fever medication plan.

Spring thunderstorm weather can cause pollen grains to burst into tiny pieces and the wind then blows them around us. When people breathe in these tiny pieces of pollen they can get deep inside the lungs and trigger an asthma attack. Spring weather can also lead to breathing problems for people who get seasonal hay fever. People who wheeze and sneeze with hay fever from pollens during spring are more likely to get thunderstorm asthma even if they haven’t had asthma before.

People more likely to get thunderstorm asthma

  • Those who get asthma and seasonal hay fever
  • Those with hay fever who have never had asthma
  • Those with past asthma or unrecognised asthma

Common symptoms of asthma

  • Wheezing – a whistling sound coming from the chest while you are breathing
  • Breathlessness
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest
  • A persistent cough

Asthma symptoms can be different for different people.

Reference – National Asthma Council website

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