Thunderstorm asthma alert issued for Riverina

Asthmatics across the Riverina are urged to be at the ready in coming days, with a thunderstorm asthma alert issued for the rest of the week.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District issued the warning on Tuesday morning, advising asthma sufferers that predicted thunderstorms are likely to exacerbate already difficult circumstances.

“Current high pollen counts and the predicted thunderstorms can increase the risk of asthma,” MLHD public health unit director Tracey Oakman said.

“People who are known to suffer from asthma should carry their asthma puffer with them at all times and try to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed during the storm period.”

Charles Sturt University, the Wagga Asthma and COPD Collaborate of Health Professionals also advise the pollen counts in Wagga are already high.

“To receive an SMS alert when the pollen counts are high and thunderstorms are predicted, go to www.csu.edu.au/asthma and register for alerts,” Ms Oakman said.

The thunderstorm asthma event in November last year was the largest event of its kind on record globally and contributed to ten deaths across Melbourne. The deaths are being investigated by the Coroners Court.

Picture: Asthma Australia/asthmaaustralia.org.au

Picture: Asthma Australia/asthmaaustralia.org.au

Asthma Australia advises the following:

  • Anyone can be affected, even if you don’t have a history of asthma.
  • People at increased risk have a history of asthma, have unrecognised asthma, have hay fever (allergic rhinitis), particularly seasonal hay fever, or are allergic to grass pollen.
  • People experiencing asthma symptoms even if for the first time should not ignore it, and should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
  • An asthma flare up can vary in severity and can be life threatening. If there are signs that a person’s condition is deteriorating, urgent care should be sought. Call Triple Zero (000).
  • Be aware of forecast thunderstorms in the pollen season particularly on days with a HIGH or EXTREME pollen count.
  • Where possible, stay indoors with doors and windows closed until the storm front has passed.