The Department of Health and Human Services has commenced delivering epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasts during grass pollen season, 1 October to 31 December.
The forecast predicts the risk of an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event for the current day, the next day and the day after that, using a colour coded scale of green (low), orange (moderate) and red (high).
You can also download the VicEmergency app and set up a “watch zone” for your location to receive advice and warnings about potential epidemic thunderstorm asthma events during the grass pollen season.
The VicEmergency app is now available to download from the App Store or Google Play.
What is thunderstorm asthma?
Epidemic thunderstorm asthma events are uncommon and don’t occur every year. In south-east Australia they can happen during grass pollen season from October through December.
Thunderstorm asthma is thought to be triggered by a unique combination of high grass pollen counts and a certain type of thunderstorm. For people who have asthma or hay fever this can cause severe asthma symptoms, making it difficult to breath. When a large number of people develop asthma symptoms over a short period of time, this is known as epidemic thunderstorm asthma. These epidemic thunderstorm asthma events don't happen every year but when they do, they can happen during grass pollen season, which is normally from October through December.
Thunderstorm asthma can affect those with asthma or hay fever - especially people who experience wheezing or coughing with their hay fever. That’s why it’s important for people with asthma or hay fever to know about thunderstorm asthma and what they can do to help protect themselves during grass pollen season. Even if you don't think you have asthma or hay fever, don't ignore symptoms like wheezing or shortness of breath - check with your GP.
For more information about thunderstorm asthma see the Better Health link below