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Thunderstorm asthma warning: Here’s how to reduce your risk

Victorians are being warned to be on the alert today, with a high pollen count and thunderstorms causing the asthma storm risk to skyrocket.

A high risk warning has been issued for the Wimmera region, while, a moderate risk warning is in place for central and western regions of Victoria.

Thunderstorm asthma is rare, but can have catastrophic impacts, and the south-east of Victoria is at particular risk because of the rye grass that grows in the area and the high prevalence of asthma.

Historically, all Victorian thunderstorm asthma events have occurred in November.

Who is at risk?

People who suffer from asthma or hay fever are more likely to experience the condition. People who have both asthma and hay fever, or who don’t have their asthma under control, are at highest risk.

What to do if you’re at risk

Those at high risk are advised to stay out of storms, have medication reliever available, and ensure they are familiar with asthma first aid.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said there are simple things people can do to reduce their risk.

“People can do things to reduce their risk by being indoors, by shutting doors and windows, by carrying their reliever medication with them, and knowing asthma first aid,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“Asthma first aid is basically sitting someone upright, which helps open up the chest, and then four puffs of Ventolin, the reliever medication.

“If you’ve got a spacer it means a puff and four breaths, and repeating that four times with four minutes in between.”

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Image: Martin Barraud

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