Thunderstorm Asthma: Beware Of The Risk Of Weather-related Asthma Attacks

People with allergies and asthma may not always be aware, but certain weather conditions increase the risk of having an asthma attack. We will explain what thunderstorm asthma is, which weather conditions are risky, and how to protect yourself from it.

1- What is thunderstorm asthma?

This week, thunderstorm asthma is making headlines as conditions are ripe to increase the risk of asthma attacks in sensitive individuals.

The National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (RNSA) has sounded the alarm due to the thunderstorms forecasted for the week in France and the high levels of grass pollen in the atmosphere.

"Thunderstorm asthma" was first described in the 1980s in England and Australia. This term refers to breathing difficulties similar to an asthma attack, but triggered by thunderstorm episodes combined with high temperatures and grass pollens.

2- What are the symptoms of thunderstorm asthma?

Thunderstorm asthma manifests as difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. It can even cause bronchospasms, which are sudden, involuntary, and prolonged contractions of the smooth muscles in the bronchi.

In the case of "thunderstorm asthma," the origin of all these respiratory problems is meteorological. Due to violent thunderstorms heavily charged with electricity, water-soaked pollen grains burst into numerous very small, highly allergenic particles.

These fragmented pollens penetrate even more easily into the bronchi, which increases the severity of symptoms in allergic or asthmatic individuals.

3- Who are the people at risk?

The most vulnerable patients facing thunderstorm asthma are people allergic to grass pollen.

Asthmatic individuals can also be affected by these particular weather conditions at any age. Due to the fragmentation of pollen, the risk of an asthma attack is increased in both adults and children.

Worse still, during these meteorological episodes, severe attacks can occur in anyone because there are people in France who are unaware they have asthma...

Finally, thunderstorms and pollen fragmentation can worsen symptoms in people with other respiratory diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

4- What are the most at-risk periods?

It is in the spring and early summer, when temperatures rise and the pollen season is in full swing, that cases of thunderstorm asthma are most numerous.

During this time of year, the combination of thunderstorms and pollens released into the atmosphere forms a harmful cocktail for sensitive individuals and promotes severe asthma attacks.

Even though "thunderstorm asthma" remains an exceptional phenomenon, it systematically leads to an increase in the number of patients admitted to emergency rooms during summer storm episodes.

5- What to do in the face of thunderstorm asthma risk?

According to data from the National Aerobiological Surveillance Network, the allergy risk is high throughout France this week, except in some Breton departments and around the Mediterranean where the risk is moderate.

Due to the concentration of pollen and stormy weather, the RNSA has issued the following recommendations to protect against thunderstorm asthma risk:

• Avoid going out during thunderstorms as the concentration of pollen increases rapidly near the ground during storm episodes.

• Stay indoors and close windows to block out pollen.

• Take your medication if you are asthmatic or allergic (especially to grasses).

• Monitor for possible symptoms of asthma or allergy.

• If you experience breathing difficulties, consult a doctor immediately.

Note: if using your bronchodilator does not relieve you and your consumption reaches 8 puffs within an hour, do not hesitate to call emergency services by dialing 15 or 18.

Author: Audrey
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Tags: pollen, asthma, thunderstorms, grass, surveillance, allergic, breathing, meteorological, bronchi, asthmatic, Allergy, fragmentation, Atmosphere, Concentration, summer storm, breton, Mediterranean, emergency rooms, cocktail, Stormy weather, emergency services, consumption, Bronchodilator, severe thunderstorms, The combination, Monitor, Grasses, medication, Stay, Early Summer, spring, This week, England, Australia, Thunderstorm, difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, contractions, smooth muscles, respiratory, grains, allergenic, vulnerable, respiratory diseases, COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, allergies,
More informations:
In French: Asthme d'orage : attention au risque de crise d’asthme liée à la météo
En español: Asma por tormenta: atención al riesgo de crisis asmática relacionada con el clima
In italiano: Asma da temporale: attenzione al rischio di crisi asmatica legata al meteo
Auf Deutsch: Gewitterasthma: Vorsicht vor dem Risiko wetterbedingter Asthmaanfälle
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