Tips for avoiding thunderstorm asthma this pollen season

Friday 15 September 2017


Epidemic thunderstorm asthma can be sudden, serious and even life threatening. That's why it's important for everyone in the community to know what they can do to prepare for grass pollen season, particularly those most at risk of thunderstorm asthma.


To help prepare people, the Department of Health and Human Services has commenced a campaign to inform people of thunderstorm asthma preparedness strategies.


Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child said, “Grass pollen season brings an increase in asthma and hay fever. It also brings the chance of thunderstorm asthma. For people with asthma or hay fever, especially those who experience wheezing or coughing with their hay fever, thunderstorm asthma can be sudden, serious and even life threatening”.

“That’s why it’s important for people with asthma or hay fever to know about thunderstorm asthma and what they can do to help protect themselves during grass pollen season”.

The aim of the Department’s Thunderstorm Asthma campaign is to help our local communities prepare for pollen season by better understanding what thunderstorm asthma is and what steps they can take to help reduce their risk of thunderstorm asthma.

As this year’s grass pollen season approaches, it is important to know how to detect and manage asthma and allergies, and make sure that you know what you can do to help protect yourself this grass pollen season.

As grass pollen season approaches, here are some things you can do to prepare for pollen season:

  • If you’ve ever had asthma – talk to your doctor about what you can do to help protect yourself from the risk of thunderstorm asthma this pollen season. Remember taking an asthma preventer properly and regularly is key to preventing asthma, including thunderstorm asthma.
  • If you have hay fever – see your pharmacist or doctor for a hay fever treatment plan and check if you should have an asthma reliever puffer – which is available from a pharmacy without a prescription.
  • If you have hay fever, and especially if you experience wheezing and coughing with your hay fever, it is important to make sure you don’t also have asthma. Speak to your doctor today about whether or not you might have asthma.  
  • It’s important for everyone in the community to know the four steps of asthma first aid so they know what to do if they or someone is having an asthma attack.

Thunderstorm asthma first aid:

  1. Sit the person upright
  2. Give 4 separate puffs of blue or grey reliever puffer
  3. Wait 4 minutes
  4. If there is still no improvement dial 000 for an ambulance
  • And finally, where possible avoid being outside during thunderstorms from October through December – especially in the wind gusts that come before the storm. Go inside and close your doors and windows. If you have your air conditioning on in your house or car, turn it onto recirculate.

As Jan Child says. “Forewarned is forearmed, so the more prepared people are for the pollen season, the better they’ll be able to manage any symptoms”.

For more information about thunderstorm asthma and the campaign, please visit