Avoid asthma emergencies this spring

People in the Murrumbidgee who have breathing difficulties related to asthma and hay fever need to prepare now for the start of the late spring thunderstorm season, advises the Asthma Collaborative Committee.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s (MLHD) Clinical Nurse Consultant for Asthma and Respiratory, Robyn Paton, said asthma flare-ups traditionally increase in spring throughout the Murrumbidgee due to high pollen counts, as well as other weather related conditions. 

“We do not want a repeat of the devastating thunderstorm asthma epidemic that occurred in Melbourne last November,” Mrs Paton warned.

“Colds and flu, wheezing and sneezing, have been in abundance over the winter months. Mix these conditions with excess ripened pollens from the spring crops and thunderstorms during the late spring, and we may be at risk of experiencing another epidemic of respiratory related conditions such as asthma flare-ups,” Mrs Paton said.

The key message for people who wheeze and sneeze when preparing for spring is to visit their GP or specialist for an assessment, obtain a current medication prescription and a written Asthma Action Plan; and then use them.

“People experiencing asthma symptoms need to use preventer medication each day plus reliever medication, such as Ventolin, if they have breathing problems. 

“If they have hay fever and sinus problems these conditions also need to be discussed with your doctor and treated.

“If breathing difficulties continue after taking a reliever medication, it is essential to seek medical help immediately,” Mrs Paton said. 

The spring thunderstorm asthma campaign is promoted annually by the Murrumbidgee Asthma Collaborative which includes representatives from MLHD, Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network, Charles Sturt University, Asthma Foundation NSW, Ambulance NSW and community groups interested in asthma.

The launch of the spring thunderstorm campaign was held earlier today at Wagga Wagga’s Botanic Gardens. Our local media were out in force, braving the cold and wet, to promote the launch.

The launch of the spring thunderstorm campaign was held earlier today at Wagga Wagga’s Botanic Gardens. Our local media were out in force, braving the cold and wet, to promote the launch.

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Cristy Houghton