Thunderstorms and peak pollen levels can pose risk to allergy sufferers says Asthma and Lung UK
Sky high pollen counts and multiple thunderstorms are raising concerns about the potential impact on allergy and asthma sufferers as the conditions can trigger severe and sudden attacks.
Often described as ‘thunderstorm asthma’ medics say lung conditions can drastically worsen when storms collide with warm summer temperatures and high amounts of grass pollen in the atmosphere.
Pollen grains, on most occasions, remain too large to enter a person’s lungs.
But during periods of stormy summer weather, at times when pollen levels are peaking, problems can be caused when a thunderstorm is brewing and the uplifts of air can carry the pollen into the clouds where the grains rupture into much smaller pieces.
Once broken up by the unsettled weather, these tiny fragments of pollen in the resulting storm are then brought back to ground level in a ‘pollen shower’ where they can be inhaled by sufferers.
While this is most likely to trigger attacks in existing allergy sufferers - ‘thunderstorm asthma’ is also sometimes known to affect those who have previously not suffered with the condition.
After baking in 30C temperatures across the weekend, numerous thunderstorm warnings are now in place across the country – with the Met Office forecasting unsettled weather in the days ahead.
With grass pollen now in peak season and scorching temperatures having kept counts high for a number of days, Asthma and Lung UK is among those warning about the potential toxic cocktail of storms and high pollen levels.
In a message on Twitter it wrote: ‘Did you know that thunderstorms can cause your lung symptoms to get worse? With storms, high temperatures and high pollen predicted it is vital that you try to reduce your risk of hayfever.’
While allergy experts and UK doctors have also been sharing their advice on how sufferers can approach the current conditions.
Sufferers who know they might be at risk of a worsening attack, are advised to remain inside and keep doors and windows closed if it is clear a storm is brewing.
Anyone who has to go outside either just before or just after a storm, can use a mask to help control the risk of the small pollen grains in the air being breathed into the lungs.
And if you're prescribed a regular preventative inhaler you should be taking it as advised, concludes the advice, alongside taking regular doses of antihistamine.