Department of Health

Epidemic thunderstorm asthma – high risk warning for Northern Country

28/10/21

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Angie Bone, advises a high-risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma has been forecast tonight in the Northern Country due to unexpected thunderstorm.

People may experience asthma symptoms or difficulty breathing due to the combination of thunderstorm activity and high grass pollen levels in the Northern Country.

This is additional to the high-risk that was forecast in the Mallee, South West and Wimmera weather districts.

The combination of forecast high grass pollen levels and severe thunderstorms with strong winds means that there is a chance that a large number of people may develop asthma symptoms over a short period of time.

Residents 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 you 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 Nurse on Call on 1300 60 60 24 or see your local doctor if you require medical advice.

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.

For up-to-date information visit the VicEmergency website or download the VicEmergency App.

Epidemic thunderstorm asthma risk forecasts are available to 31 December on the VicEmergency app and website at VicEmergency Thunderstorm Asthma Forecast.

Pollen observations and forecasts are available at Melbourne Pollen and via the Melbourne Pollen App.

Reviewed 28 October 2021

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