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Thunderstorm asthma — are you at risk?

Thunderstorm asthma — are you at risk?

Dark clouds and lightning create a thunderstorm
Dark clouds and lightning in a thunderstorm. Image source:

A friendly heads-up has been issued to people as thunderstorm season approaches. Although this time it’s not a warning for storm damage. Residents are being warned about spring-time thunderstorm-triggered asthma.

What is it?

We caught up with CSU academic and Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences, Bruce Graham, to find out a little more about the issue.

“Thunderstorm asthma is asthma caused by thunderstorms and is triggered by the elevated levels of airborne grass-pollens” said Bruce.

“As we saw in Melbourne this week with a large thunderstorm, thunderstorms can trigger asthma attacks in people who have not been diagnosed with asthma and who wouldn’t normally be considered at risk.”

“Grass pollens normally peak in September and October, but they are yet to peak this year.”

“The people at greatest risk are those who have asthma, hay fever or who are allergic to pollens, particularly rye grass pollen”

What can you do about it?

There are a number of apps that warn people about thunderstorms. Even checking your regular weather radar is a good indicator.

CSU also offers a SMS and email alert system where you register and receive alerts when pollen counts are high and thunderstorms are on their way.

Better safe than sorry

Spring is best spent outdoors, so be sure to register and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page. You’ll even find a section on asthma advice.

For more information about thunderstorm-triggered asthma or the alert system, email

Image source:


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