A leading respiratory specialist with the Department of Health, Professor Mike Roberts, advises a high-risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma has been forecast today in the Central District, which includes Melbourne and its suburbs.
People may experience asthma symptoms or difficulty breathing due to the combination of thunderstorm activity carrying high grass pollen levels.
This is additional to the moderate risk that was forecast in the Mallee, North Central, North East, Northern Country, South West, West and South Gippsland and Wimmera weather districts.
The combination of forecast high grass pollen levels and severe thunderstorms with strong winds means that there is a significant risk that people with asthma, hayfever and nasal allergy (seasonal rhinitis) may develop significant symptoms immediately before and during the storm period.
People are advised to avoid the wind gusts before the storm – go inside and close your windows and doors before and during the storm.
Health and emergency services are monitoring the situation closely and are ready to respond.
Our hospitals are experiencing significant demand due to COVID-19, so it’s important that people stay well.
You can protect yourself and those in your care by following these simple steps:
- Monitor the epidemic thunderstorm asthma risk forecast on the VicEmergency app;
- Avoid being outdoors in a storm, especially the winds that precede them;
- Take your preventative medication as directed, even when you’re symptom free;
- Carry your reliever and know how to manage an asthma attack. Follow your asthma action plan or use asthma first aid.
Call triple zero (000) immediately if someone is not breathing, if their asthma suddenly becomes worse or is not improving, or if the person is having an asthma attack and a reliever puffer is not available.
Professor Roberts is available to talk about the risk rating at the Department of Health, 50 Lonsdale St Melbourne at 3.30pm today.
Reviewed 02 December 2021