Four people die in Australia from "Thunderstorm Asthma"
In Melbourne, Australia, a thunderstorm has led to an emergency. As the Australian daily "The Sydney Morning Herald" reported on Thursday, after a heavy thunderstorm on Monday evening, thousands of people had to be treated for shortness of breath in the clinics of the megacity. Four patients reportedly died as a result of asthma attacks, and three more would continue to fight for their lives. The weather phenomenon is not unknown and can also occur in this country.
8500 sufferers need medical help
A weather phenomenon has caused chaos in the clinics of the Australian city of Melbourne this week. After it rained heavily on Monday evening, according to "The Sydney Morning Herald" thousands of people had to be given medical care due to breathing problems. Overall, according to the Ministry of Health's first confirmed numbers from Thursday, 8,500 people were affected, who were treated in the clinics of the capital of the state of Victoria on Monday and Tuesday.
Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy told the newspaper that overwhelmed emergency services were not entirely certain what they were dealing with on Monday as the demand for help increased. "When people called for ambulances - one call every 4½ seconds at peak time - it was like 150 bombs going down exactly over a certain part of the Melbourne metropolitan area," said Hennessy. "And that's something we never really planned for," added the minister.
Thunderstorm asthma is created by combining several factors
The patients suffered from shortness of breath and sometimes massive asthma attacks, which were caused by the so-called "thunderstorm asthma" (thunderstorm asthma). This phenomenon also causes seizure-like breathing difficulties and coughing in people who were not previously asthmatics.
The exact reasons for the violent physical reactions to a thunderstorm have not yet been clarified, according to the United Kingdom's National Meteorological Service (Met Office). However, it appears that such an event is triggered during the summer by a combination of large storms due to converging air masses, previous hot and dry weather, high humidity and possibly high levels of air pollution.
Pollen burst through the moisture
If there is a high level of humidity, the pollen is whirled into higher layers of air and then pushed back near the ground by cold gusts. The pollen grains also burst due to the thunderstorm, making them smaller than ordinary pollen. As a result, they get deeper into the airways when inhaled, triggering increased breathing difficulties. The incredible “pollen burden” led the newspaper to the huge wave of people with shortness of breath and cardiac arrest.
Affected people should stay indoors if there is a storm
The weather phenomenon is also possible in this country. Several years ago, the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine warned people with asthma and pollen allergy of impending shortness of breath during a thunderstorm. A thunderstorm could result in an acute deterioration in their health.
Vulnerable people should stay in the house for twenty minutes to half an hour after a storm before going back into the fresh air. If a thunderstorm surprises you on the way, it is important that you protect your airways by breathing in the air through a cloth over your nose and exhaling without a cloth over your mouth. Then you should seek shelter and wait for half an hour there, protected from the rain after the storm. (No)