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Thursday 29 September 2016 Instagram
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Thunderstorm warning for people with asthma

Thunderstorm warning for people with asthma

With thunderstorms predicted in many parts of the country this week, Asthma UK is offering important advice to the 5.2 million people in the UK with asthma.

An American study, published in the journal Thorax, found that asthma-related hospital visits were 3% higher on days that followed thunderstorms than on days that did not.

During thunderstorms large quantities of pollen can be released into the air which can trigger asthma symptoms and raise the risk of an emergency admission six-fold. On an average day over 200 people will be admitted to hospital with potentially life-threatening asthma attacks, so the increased risk during volatile weather means it is even more important for people with asthma to keep their asthma medicines with them.

It is believed that during thunderstorms, downdraughts of cold air sweep up high concentrations of pollen and spores. These allergenic particles are then thrust into the air, where the moisture breaks them up into pieces that can penetrate deep into the lungs. This can induce attacks even in those who have previously only had mild asthma. During thunderstorms it is therefore best to stay inside and close windows to keep allergens out.

Vikki Knowles, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK adds: "Unfortunately we can't control the weather but by taking the right steps early enough we can certainly help to control asthma symptoms. Having a personal asthma action plan can really help, showing you how to increase your asthma medicines safely if you notice your symptoms getting worse."

Asthma UK

Do you advise your patients to take extra care during thunderstorms? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"This is a very interesting research that might need considering in tropical countries where the rate of thunderstorm is very high. I wonder how much impact such findings would present if the study was replicated considering a merged with heavy rains. I am concerened then how asthma patients cope in countries where thunderstorm is prevalent with subsequent sunshine to increase those acclaimed pollens. Could you possibly explain whether medications should be increased during the rains in tropical countries?" - Jim, London

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