Thunderstorm asthma in Australia: What is it, who gets it?

In a strange incident, a rare thunderstorm triggered respiratory problems among a large group of people in Melbourne, Australia.

Last Updated: Nov 23, 2016, 13:45 PM IST
Thunderstorm asthma in Australia: What is it, who gets it?
The rarely seen phenomenon is called thunderstorm asthma

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Only asthma sufferers know how difficult it is to live with the condition. Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, causing breathing difficulty. Asthma occurs when your airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus.

In a strange incident, a rare thunderstorm triggered respiratory problems among a large group of people in Melbourne, Australia.

Also Read: Lifestyle, self-care, diet tips to deal with asthma!

The rarely seen phenomenon is called 'thunderstorm asthma'. As per reports, till date three people had died from asthma attacks following the thunderstoms on Monday. Besides, over 30 people were rushed to intensive care and more than 1900 emergency calls were made to Ambulance Victoria on Monday night.

Experts say thunderstorm asthma, although extremely rare, can affect regular sufferers of the condition, or non-sufferers who get hay fever. Symptoms include wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest and coughing.

According to Dr Simon Judkins, from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, thunderstorm asthma is triggered when there is a sudden change in weather conditions.

As per a report from The Age, thunderstorm asthma was first described in 1992 in Melbourne, following two epidemics in November 1987 and November 1989.