MILLIONS of Britons are at risk of ‘thunderstorm asthma’, experts say.
After storms swept the country on Monday and Tuesday, the weather could make those affected’ symptoms worse.
The Met Office forecast that England, Wales and eastern Scotland will experience heavy rain showers today, although the weather is expected to become drier from tomorrow.
However, for some asthmatics and hay fever sufferers, the effects of the storms could last longer as airborne pollen is broken down into smaller particles.
These get into your lungs more easily and cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Data from the UK’s Health Security Agency shows that there was a surge in cases of thunderstorm-related asthma in hospital emergencies on Sunday 11 June. The latest data is for this day.
The increase corresponded to the highest asthma figures in winter.
Charities are warning that the current thunderstorm could lead to a further surge in some cases.
Asthma + Lung UK’s Emma Rubach said: “More than 5 million Britons have asthma and changes in the weather, pollen, air pollution and thunderstorms are all triggers for the condition.”
“Asthma patients with hay fever can experience significantly more severe symptoms during thunderstorms.”
Higher levels of pollutants—often in hot weather—can also trigger dangerous asthma attacks.
Ms Rubach said: “However, the good news is that people can take steps to reduce the effects of thunderstorm asthma.”
“First of all, they should be taking their preventative inhaler as directed and also making sure to take antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays as needed to help control their pollen allergy.
“They should also have their rescue inhaler with them in case of an emergency, because it relaxes the muscles in the airways and helps to relieve sudden asthma symptoms.”
She added, “We also recommend staying indoors whenever possible during thunderstorms and keeping inhaled medications in cool, dry places at home on hot, blustery days.”
“Also, they should be stored outdoors in a dry cooler bag, as they may not perform as well in hot temperatures or humid environments.”