Features of thunderstorm asthma: development mechanism, treatment, prevention

Thunderstorm asthma is considered a relatively young pathology. The first cases were diagnosed in Birmingham in 1983 and in Melbourne in 1987.

In 2016, 6 people died from thunderstorm asthma in the United States of America. According to statistics, it is most common in the Australian region and southeastern North America. Cases of seizures have also been reported in Italy and Iran.

What is Thunderstorm Asthma

During the flowering period of plants, many people experience irritation of the mucous membranes, runny nose, migraine. When pollen is released in high humidity conditions, an exacerbation of thunderstorm asthma occurs.

Severe thunderstorms and wind exposure cause the fingers to break up into smaller fractions that can easily enter the respiratory system. A person with an allergic reaction has a bronchospasm, he begins to choke. An attack of the disease can be stopped with the help of inhalers.

Symptoms of Thunderstorm Asthma

List of symptoms that occur during an attack:

  • dyspnea;
  • a feeling of tightness in the chest;
  • cough, wheezing;
  • whistling breathing;
  • lack of air.

The mechanism of development of the disease and the risk group

A thunderstorm asthma attack occurs after the rain has passed. Scientists have recently begun studying this aggravation. The disease develops during the period of mass flowering of rye or other plants, when pollen is actively carried by the wind. During a thunderstorm with rain, high humidity helps to saturate the pollen with liquid.

Pollen, saturated with moisture, under the influence of the wind breaks up into many small fragments. Usually nose hair prevents the allergen from entering the airways of asthmatics. But after breaking down into small fragments, the moistened pollen easily enters the bronchi. As a result, an asthma attack develops.

Thunderstorm asthma most often occurs in young allergy sufferers. Among them there are people who often face mild signs of illness, insufficient to take medications. Thunderstorm asthma is more common in young patients with hay fever.

In October 1997, a study was conducted in Australia, studied an outbreak of thunderstorm asthma. A history of 95% of patients had hay fever. 96% of patients were allergic to pollen. Every fourth patient has used inhalers at some point. 56% of people who escaped a thunderstorm asthma attack also used these drugs. Thus, the use of prophylactic agents during flowering of plants contributes to effective protection against attacks of the disease.

Thunderstorm asthma treatment

Doctors recommend using an inhaler for all asthmatics. These devices are used to treat a thunderstorm asthma attack and fight inflammation of the airways. Treatment of such an exacerbation does not differ from methods of treatment of other forms of the disease. Specialists determine which medications can be used and prescribe a course of treatment.

How you deal with thunderstorm asthma depends on the severity of your symptoms. The inhalers can be used up to three times within 60 minutes. If the asthmatic feels relieved, you can use this medicine every 3-4 hours for 2 days. Steroid hormones are used if breathing problems cannot be overcome.

Inhalation with a nebulizer helps. Medicines are used to expand the airways and relieve inflammation of the bronchi, they help to stop various manifestations of allergies and asthma. If the above methods do not bring relief, you need to call an ambulance.


Preventing breathing difficulties during a thunderstorm is the most effective way to combat this condition. Every patient with asthma and plant allergies is advised by doctors to take medication and use inhalers even in situations where there is no reason to use. Inhalers are essential to combat flare-ups of asthma, inflammation, and airways.

Prevention of thunderstorm asthma does not differ from the methods of dealing with manifestations of other types of this disease. Preventive therapy is in progress. During the period of action of allergens, anti-asthma drugs should be used daily. These drugs include steroid hormones in pill form or in an inhaler. Airway inflammation is reduced, the immune system does not react as strongly to allergens, and complications are prevented.

Asthmatics find it difficult to breathe during a thunderstorm during the flowering season. To avoid exacerbations, it is best not to leave your home after rain.

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