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Be prepared this grass pollen season

An epidemic thunderstorm asthma event is an uncommon phenomenon where a large number of people experience asthma over a short period of time. Find out what you can do to prepare.

25/09/23
A grassy field with lightning

Grass pollen season brings an increase in asthma and hay fever. During the season, a high grass pollen count and a certain type of thunderstorm can also trigger thunderstorm asthma.

An epidemic thunderstorm asthma event is an uncommon phenomenon where a large number of people experience asthma over a short period of time. The risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma is forecast each year during grass pollen season (1 October to 31 December).

Check the Thunderstorm Asthma forecasting system on the VicEmergency websiteExternal Link

Prepare for grass pollen season

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

In Victoria, the grass pollen season runs from October through December. As the season approaches, there are some things you can do to prepare and protect yourself and those in your 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. Remember, taking an asthma preventer properly and regularly is key to preventing asthma, including thunderstorm 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 – which is available from a pharmacy without a prescription.
  • If you have hay fever, and especially if you experience wheezing and coughing with your hay fever, it is important to make sure you don’t also have asthma. Speak to your doctor today about whether you might have asthma, and if you do, get an asthma action plan.
  • It’s important for everyone in the community to know the four steps of asthma first aid so they know what to do if they or someone is having an asthma attack.
  • And finally, where possible, avoid being outside during thunderstorms from October through December – especially in the wind gusts that come before the storm. Go inside and close your doors and windows. If you have your air conditioning on, turn it onto recirculate.

Protect yourself this pollen season – managing asthma and allergies matters.

Read more about thunderstorm asthma on the Better Health ChannelExternal Link

Read more about pollen allergies on the Better Health ChannelExternal Link

Reviewed 31 January 2024