Heavy Rain Leads To Spike In 'Thunderstorm Asthma Attacks'

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 08/05/2012 10:48 Updated: 08/05/2012 10:48

Rain Asthma

Predictions of a stormy summer are cause for concern among Asthma experts, who point out that heavy rain can trigger serious attacks in sufferers.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr Prasanna Sankaran, a specialist registrar in respiratory medicine at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital, said: "The new cases are often after heavy rain and thunderstorms which can trigger an attack."

According to Dr Sankaran, damp weather increases the likelihood of fungal spores being released from soil into the air.

Scroll down to find out how to help an asthma attack sufferer

UK weather forecasters continue to predict more thunder and lightning after storms swept across the country yesterday, bringing tornadoes to some areas.

Angela Jones, nurse specialist at Asthma UK, agrees that the risk of an attack increases during thunderstorms.

Jones told Huffpost Lifestyle: "Large quantities of pollen can be released into the air that trigger asthma symptoms and raise the risk of an emergency hospital admission."

"It also believed 'downdraughts' of cold air sweep up high concentrations of pollen and spores. These are thrust into the air, where they are broken up into smaller pieces that can penetrate deep into the lungs."

Jones highlighted that the increased risk of an asthma attack during volatile weather means it’s crucial for people keep their asthma medicines with them and windows closed to keep allergens out.

Asthma kills three people every day, and someone is admitted to hospital with a potentially fatal asthma attack every seven minutes in the UK, yet attacks and hospital admissions can be prevented by spotting and treating early warning signs.

Asthma UK are encouraging people with asthma to take The Triple A Test to help them find out their risk of having an attack and advise them what they can do to reduce it.

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  • What To Do If Someone Is Having An Asthma Attack

  • Step One

    Ask if they have their reliever inhaler (usually blue) and where it is. You may need to get it out of their bag for them.

  • Step Two

    Encourage them to take one to two puffs of their reliever inhaler.

  • Step Three

    Make sure they are sitting up.

  • Step Four

    Encourage them to take slow and steady breaths.

  • Step Five

    Keep them calm and reassure them.

  • Step Six

    If they are still not feeling better after two minutes they can take two puffs of their reliever again and continue to do so every two minutes (up to a maximum of 10 puffs).

  • Step Seven

    If they feel better, they should be OK to carry on with their day - but make sure they see a doctor as soon as possible (ideally the same day).

  • Step Eight

    If at any time you are worried about them, call an ambulance.

  • Step Nine

    If after 10 minutes they don't feel better and their inhaler doesn't seem to be helping them, then call an ambulance.

  • Step 10

    If the ambulance hasn't arrived after 10 minutes then the sufferer should repeat Step 6, until help arrives.