Letters Epidemic thunderstorm asthma

Thunderstorm asthma: controlling (deadly) grass pollen allergy

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k432 (Published 06 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k432
  1. Janet M Davies, assistant director1,
  2. Francis Thien, director of respiratory medicine2,
  3. Mark Hew, head3
  1. 1Office of Research, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia, and Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Eastern Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology, Alfred Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. j36.davies{at}qut.edu.au

Andrew and colleagues examine the ambulance responses in the catastrophic epidemic thunderstorm asthma event in Melbourne in 2016.1 Beyond preparing emergency services, we need public health responses, including forecasting and control of known asthma, to prevent the acute consequences of thunderstorm asthma.

Further proactive measures to identify and pre-emptively protect susceptible people are critical to mitigating the effects of thunderstorm asthma. Patients with current asthma should obviously be offered preventive inhaled corticosteroids according to guideline recommendations. But in Melbourne, and in previous episodes of epidemic thunderstorm asthma, known previous asthma was an inadequate predictor of risk.12 Seasonal allergic rhinitis …

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