What is thunderstorm asthma?

Thunderstorm asthma is asthma that is triggered by a particular type of thunderstorm when there is a high amount of grass pollen in the air (typically between October and end December).

It can result in people wheezing, feeling short of breath, and tight in the chest with coughing.

This can be sudden, serious, and even life threatening.

Information on Thunderstorm asthma (External link) is available on the Better Health website

Get ready for grass pollen season

You can reduce the chance of being affected by thunderstorm asthma.

If you think you may have asthma or hay fever, talk to your doctor.

If you have asthma, see your doctor regularly. Update your asthma action plan, carry your reliever medication and treat any hay fever.

If you experience hay fever, see your doctor or pharmacist about the best treatment and your risk of thunderstorm asthma. Have reliever medication available.

Learn how and when to use your medications properly.

Learn asthma first aid and if you have an asthma action plan make sure you understand what to do if you get an asthma flare or attack.

Check the epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast (External link) on the Vic Emergency website.

Avoid thunderstorms in grass pollen season, especially the wind gusts before the storm. Stay inside and close doors and windows.

Who is at risk?

You are at risk of thunderstorm asthma if you:

  • have asthma (or have had asthma in the past)

  • have hay fever (allergy affecting the nose) during Spring.

If you feel short of breath, tight in the chest, wheeze or cough during pollen season – you might have undiagnosed asthma.