New resources available to prepare for thunderstorm asthma
Following the thunderstorm asthma epidemic that occurred in November 2016, the State Government Department of Health and Human Services has been working with the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and other research organisations to develop an epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting system.
“Epidemic thunderstorm asthma events don’t happen every year, but they can occur during grass pollen season from 1 October through 31 December,” said Borough of Queenscliffe Mayor, Councillor Tony Francis.
The forecasting system went live on 1 October and will be available until end of December, in line with the grass pollen season. To access the forecasting system, download the Vic Emergency app from www.emergency.vic.gov.au 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 Department of Health and Human Services will also operate a subscription service for the distribution of epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasts on forecasted high risk days only. To subscribe to this service, visit www2.health.vic.gov.au/newsletters.
“The Victorian Government has put in significant efforts to ensure resources are available to prepare for these events as much as possible,” said Cr Francis. “I encourage everybody in the community to access the thunderstorm asthma forecasting system and email subscription service.”
For further information on recognising and managing thunderstorm asthma, head over to the Better Health Channel’s Thunderstorm Asthma page at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/thunderstorm-asthma.