WAGGA health providers are bracing for an influx of asthma cases, as outdoor and weather risk factors kick into overdrive from Monday.
It comes after earlier predictions that a wet winter could mean the worst hay fever and asthma spring season in half a decade.
On Friday, Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) public health director Tracey Oakman confirmed the next four weeks will be the season’s highest risk period, due to elevated pollen levels and stormy weather.
“Thunderstorms can trigger asthma attacks even in people who have not previously experienced asthma,” she said.
“People who have asthma or hay fever and who are allergic to pollens, particularly rye grass pollen, are at greatest risk.”
Mrs Oakman urged those with asthma to sign up to a Charles Sturt University SMS alert, which will notify users when the pollen count is high and thunderstorms are predicted.
“Anyone with diagnosed asthma should carry their asthma medication with them at all times during this high risk period,” she said.
“If you have asthma, try to stay inside when the storms are around to avoid airborne pollen which may trigger an asthma attack.”
Kooringal Medical Centre staff said they had been phoning their patients to make sure all asthma prevention plans were up to date.
In extreme circumstances, a nebuliser would have to be used to get oxygen quickly to the lungs, registered nurse Jenny Hulm said.
Ms Hulm, whose husband has asthma, said preventative medication was crucial for all ages and types of sufferers during this spring period.
“We often see children, because they are running around and exercising so that can aggravate it,” she said.
Wagga cyclist Daniel Uden said preventative medication can also benefit year round health.
Last month, the asthmatic told The Daily Advertiser starting preventative medication had increased his lung capacity from 80 to 110 per cent.
“I never really took any preventative medication other than an asthma puffer,” Mr Uden said. “I would always wake up in the morning and cough through my shower, I’d generally cough until morning tea time.”
To register for an asthma high risk alert, go to www.csu.edu.au/asthma.