Melbourne thunderstorm causes respiratory problems

After a blisteringly hot 38 degree Monday, Victorians were treated to a cool change and a refreshing storm at around 6pm.

Unfortunately, the cool change brought more than a drop in temperature, in addition to fallen trees and damaged buildings, the severe weather spread copious amounts of pollen into the air, which contributed to respiratory problems which have killed at least 2 people.

Those allergic to Rye Grass were the most affected. Nearly seven times the standard amount of 000 calls were received between 6pm and 11pm, as emergency workers struggled to keep up with the demand for services. 

The only 24-hour pharmacy in the inner-west suburbs ran out of Ventolin Inhalers, as did St. Vincent's hospital, which was forced to open a second emergency department.

Hundreds of calls were also made to State Emergency Services to report building damages. 

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"Epworth respiratory physician Michael Sutherland says last week’s thunderstorm asthma event was the most severe ever recorded anywhere in the world."

“The previous worst episode was in London in 1994 with 640 cases (and) only five to ICU (intensive care units),” Dr Sutherland told 3AW on Wednesday.

Every available ambulance in Melbourne was sent out on calls during the storm as more than 30 were admitted to intensive care."

Full news story.

news today said more of these duststorms are to come,   and warning people with breathing problems to have medication ready   and stay indoors as much as possible,

It wasn't a dust storm. Perhaps a pollen storm.

only you could be so pedantic,    they were a combination of everything,    and i think MOST people would know what i meant,  

THis is about life and death. Accuracy in language is critical.

There's a good explanation of thunderstorm asthma on SBS. Exerpts below.

“When you combine high pollen counts with thunderstorms and warm weather, a much more serious phenomenon can unfold: thunderstorm asthma attacks.

Grass pollen is usually too large to enter the small airways of the lungs and is filtered out by the nose, causing hay fever in those allergic to pollen.

But stormy winds and moisture can cause the pollen to rupture into tiny particles, which are small enough to be inhaled.

The outflow winds of a thunderstorm then concentrate these tiny particles at ground level, where they can easily enter the small airways of the lungs and cause an acute asthma attack in those who are allergic to grass pollens.

The symptoms of thunderstorm asthma can occur quickly and include shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing.”


They all seem to be young people too ....

Someone died in the ICU unit.

I wish we had better journalists.

Wonder if it is the same person as in this article from the Sun Herald 

Thunderstorm asthma advice issued as storms loom in Victoria

Sunday 4th December 2016

Victorians who experience breathing difficulties or asthma have been advised to take extra care this evening, with a cool change and thunderstorms predicted for the state.

Full story from ABC.

I read that there are still 2 people in ICU from last week's storm as one that been discharged, had returned back to the hospital.

Also with the upcoming storm that people should stay indoors if they were affected a week ago.

Lets hope it is not a repeat of last week.

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