Pollen warning: `Thunder astma` risk as warm and windy weather conditions spell mistery for hay fever sufferers


Date: 21.02.2018

Hay fever and asthma sufferers have been warned that a combination of hot, humid and windy weather could cause “thunder asthma”.

The Met Office has forecast that temperatures could hit 26C next week, but the heat is likely to be accompanied by cloud, rain and muggy weather due to moist tropical maritime air coming in from the continent. 

On Saturday afternoon, thundery showers hit northern parts of the UK, particularly Scotland. In the evening, a band of rain will move from the west to affect most areas, according to MeteoGroup. Storms are expected to hit most of the UK on Monday, the Mirror reported citing the Met Office. This follows a dry period of largely dry weather.

And while pollen counts will be low in the north and moderate in the south over the weekend, the humidity could cause problems for those with respiratory issues. 

Dr David Fischer, of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, told The Independent: “hot humid and windy weather together is definitely very bad for pollen allergy sufferers. 

“The humidity traps the pollen closer to the ground, and the dry conditions means the pollens haven't been washed away and the wind whips it up.”

Dr Fischer added that people with asthma should be “extra cautious” because the weather could create conditions where thunder asthma could occur. 

He explained: “Thunder can crack grass pollen into easily respirable particles that can trigger severe asthma as they get more easily into the depths of the lungs.”

A thunderstorm event last year in Melbourne, Australia, killed eight people, he added. 

Dr Fischer advised those who could be affected to stay indoors, avoid vigorous exercise, and to carry medication such as puffers. 

“Air conditioning can help to keep things comfortable on hot humid days to keep the windows closed,” he added. 

Andrew Williams, lead nurse for adult allergies London’s Guy’s Hospital, told the Mirror: “We have been seeing more hay fever sufferers recently and certainly the severity of symptoms is increasing.

“At the moment we have birch pollen in the air but we are soon entering grass-pollen season which spells a bit of a double whammy to hay fever sufferers."


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