Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thunderstorm asthma: how seasonal weather can affect human health

From the Guardian - at least four dead and others hospitalised due to weather event scientists broadly agree forces harmful allergens into air

"Melbourne has suffered what appears to be the most lethal episode of thunderstorm asthma on record. With at least four deaths and more patients left in intensive care, the storm has served as a grim reminder that the seasonal weather occurrence can have tragic knock-on effects for human health. “This is an extraordinary event,” said Prof Anthony Seaton, who has worked on thunderstorm asthma at the University of Aberdeen. “I don’t know of any event as severe as this.”

Thunderstorm asthma has been studied for more than 30 years. Since the early 1980s, rapid spikes in sudden asthma attacks have been linked to thunderstorms in the UK, Australia, Italy and the US, but they no doubt occur in other countries. “The evidence for the connection is pretty robust,” said ProfAziz Sheikh, co-director of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, a collaboration between 14 universities.

The largest known outbreak of thunderstorm asthma previously coincided with a heavy thunderstorm in London on 24 June 1994. In a 30-hour period which started at 6pm that evening, 640 patients with asthma or other breathing problems overwhelmed hospital emergency departments. Under normal conditions, the staff would have expected only 60 or so asthma patients. More than 100 were admitted, and five ended up in intensive care. In Melbourne, two consecutive thunderstorms saw a five to ten-fold rise in asthma cases in 1992, a report from the city’s Monash medical centre found."

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