Pollen season brings asthma, hay fever risks

Published on 06 October 2021

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Grass pollen season has started, bringing an increase in asthma and hay fever and the chance of thunderstorm asthma.

Corangamite Shire Manager Environment and Emergency Lyall Bond encouraged  community members with asthma, particularly if they shrugged it off as only mild, to work out an asthma action plan with their GP.

“Grass pollen season increases triggers for asthma and hay fever and certain weather events can trigger thunderstorm asthma,” Mr Bond said.

“For people with asthma or hay fever, especially those who experience wheezing or coughing, thunderstorm asthma can be sudden, serious and even life threatening.”

Mr Bond encouraged residents to make sure they know the four steps of asthma first aid in case they or someone has an asthma attack.

“Sit the person upright then give them four separate puffs of a blue or grey reliever puffer,” he said.

“Wait four minutes and if they haven’t improved give them four more puffs.

“If that doesn’t work, call 000 and keep up the four puffs every four minutes until an ambulance arrives.”

Mr Bond said the symptoms of asthma, hay fever and COVID-19 could be similar.

“If you have symptoms different to your usual asthma or hay fever, you should get tested for COVID-19 and stay home until you get your results.”

There are some things people can do to protect themselves and those in their care:

  • If you’ve ever had asthma – talk to your doctor about what you can do to help protect yourself from the risk of thunderstorm asthma this pollen season, including updating your asthma action plan. Taking an asthma preventer properly and regularly is key to preventing asthma.
  • If you have hay fever – see your pharmacist or doctor for a hay fever treatment plan and check if you should have an asthma reliever puffer.
  • If you have wheezing and coughing with your hay fever, it is important to make sure you don’t also have asthma. Speak to your doctor today.
  • Avoid being outside during thunderstorms from October through December – especially in the wind gusts that come before the storm.

Find out more on the Better Health Channel.

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