People who suffer from asthma are being warned to remain indoors this weekend because of a worrying phenomenon known as ‘thunder fever’.
Thundery showers combined with a high pollen count may prove dangerous, and can even cause fatalities among those with asthma.
When a thunderstorm occurs, airborne pollen grains explode into minuscule particles after first absorbing moisture.
These extremely fine particles can then be easily inhaled deeply within the lungs, resulting in inflammation and irritation. This can even trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack for those with this respiratory condition.
Thunderstorms will hit south-west England, Wales and Northern Ireland this weekend, following the beautiful conditions many of us experienced just the weekend before.
According to The Met Office, the evening of Friday 11 May will see the following weather conditions:
Outbreaks of rain will move eastwards overnight, giving some heavy bursts over northern hills for a time before becoming confined to northern Scotland by morning. Clearing skies will follow the rain, although showers will reach the southwest later.
The Met Office has given the following UK weather forecast for Saturday 12 May:
Scattered heavy and possibly thundery showers will affect the southwest, and some persistent rain will spread north across the southeast after midday. Elsewhere it will be dry with sunny spells.
Apparently a ‘thunder bomb’ is predicted over the UK this weekend, weather combo of ☀️and ⛈ high alert for asthmatics and hay fever peeps, I may as well go and stay under the duvet for the W/e, eyes steaming just reading it ?
— Jenny ? (@JPollicott) May 11, 2018
?? what's ya plans then? And no, thunder fever is hitting the weekend so I can't go out. (See my last tweet) ??
— Tasha (@NM_C07) May 11, 2018
Inflammation is a key part of #asthma, but there can be different causes.
Frequent or severe symptoms = poorly controlled inflammation = benefit from daily controller therapy.
— Dr. Dave Stukus (@AllergyKidsDoc) May 11, 2018
Hey lovely saints! So I’m on a family trip and been having bad asthma and allergies. If you all could please lift me up in prayer this week I would be eternally grateful ?
— Alexis (@alexis89867) May 11, 2018
Head of Services at Asthma UK, Sonia Munde, has released the following urgent statement:
Thunderstorms can have a devastating impact on people with asthma and trigger an asthma attack which could be fatal.
An estimated 3.3 million people with asthma in the UK say their asthma is triggered by pollen. Humid, stormy conditions break the pollen into much smaller particles, which are then inhaled more deeply into the lungs and can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.
People with asthma who struggle with pollen should try to stay indoors with the windows closed during thunderstorms.
They should also take hay fever medicines, such as antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays, and make sure they take their preventer inhaler as prescribed.
These will help to relieve their symptoms and reduce their risk of an asthma attack.
Back in 2016, nine people died with more than 8,000 hospitalised in Melbourne, Australia, after the city was struck with thunder fever, according to the Evening Standard.
According to Asthma UK, 5.4 million Brits suffer from asthma; affecting approximately one in eleven people. Every 10 seconds somebody in the UK is experiencing a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
Even more shocking, three UK families a day will lose a loved one to a fatal asthma attack, with two thirds of deaths regarded as being preventable.
Be particularly careful out there this weekend. And do make sure to check out the following infographic to find out how you can help both yourselves and others should an asthma attack occur.
Visit the Asthma UK website for more information. Anyone who has concerns about their asthma during thunderstorms can call the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.