New surveillance system to predict thunderstorm asthma

A world-class asthma surveillance, thunderstorm forecast and warning system is being rolled out by the State Government to ensure Victorians, like those in Melton and Moorabool, are informed of high-risk events this pollen season.

Health Secretary Mary-Anne Thomas announced on September 29 that the asthma risk prediction system for epidemic thunderstorms would resume on October 1 to give those at increased risk the opportunity to take action and avoid exposure to pollen fragments that can trigger asthma.

“This forecasting system will help ensure vulnerable people are aware of high-risk days during the grass pollen season and can take the right actions to protect themselves and loved ones,” Ms Thomas said.

“I encourage all Victorians who may be suffering from asthma or seasonal hay fever to download the VicEmergency app and set up a surveillance zone to be alerted on a high risk day.

“People with asthma should take their asthma medication regularly as directed, see their GP if they have persistent symptoms, update their asthma plan annually, and learn asthma first aid.”

The grass pollen season, which typically lasts from early October to late December, brings with it a seasonal increase in asthma and hay fever, as well as the possibility of thunderstorm asthma.

When many people develop asthma symptoms within a short period of time caused by high levels of grass pollen and a specific type of thunderstorm, it is called epidemic thunderstorm asthma.

The forecast system, which will be operational through December 31, forecasts three days ahead and provides a low (green), medium (orange) or high (red) risk forecast for the nine Victorian weather districts.


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