‘Danger’ in the air we breathe
Pollen count forecasting system to aid hay fever, asthma sufferers
HAY fever and asthma sufferers have been put on notice as Victoria’s grass pollen season kicks in.
The state’s world-leading pollen count forecasting system delivered its first epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast for 2018 this week.
The system was established two years ago in response to the unusual epidemic thunderstorm asthma event that hit Melbourne on November 24, 2016 resulting in 10 deaths.
Victoria’s deputy chief health officer Dr Angie Bone said with the forecasting system live this week, Victorians can monitor the forecast and those at increased risk can take actions to protect themselves on high-risk days.
The monitoring system reads pollen counters, and is located in eight locations around Victoria, with Dookie the closest to the Rural City of Wangaratta.
“The system also enables health professionals and emergency services to be prepared on days of increased risk,” Dr Bone said.
The forecasts are available during Victoria’s grass pollen season, typically from October through December, and can be accessed via the VicEmergency app or online at emergency. vic.gov.au.
“The best way to protect yourself from thunderstorm asthma is through good management of asthma and hay fever,” Dr Bone said.
Epidemic thunderstorm asthma is an uncommon phenomenon where a large number of people experience asthma over a short period of time, thought to be triggered by high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm.
“We want everyone – especially people with asthma and hay fever – to be as prepared as they can all year round,” Dr Bone said.
It is recommended where possible, people with asthma and hay fever should avoid exposure to springtime thunderstorms, and especially the wind gusts that precede them.