It can affect everyone: what is storm asthma, whose risk is at its highest this Thursday and who is most exposed to it ?

It can affect everyone: what is storm asthma, whose risk is at its highest this Thursday and who is most exposed to it ?

Le temps orageux favorise la concentration des pollens près du sol. Illustration Unsplash

This Thursday, June 6, the national aerobiological monitoring network is issuing an alert regarding the risk of storm asthma.

Did you know about storm asthma? This Thursday, June 6, a cocktail of elements greatly increases the risk of it be exposed, alerts the national aerobiological monitoring network (RNSA) in a press release.

Stormy asthma does not only affect people with asthma. It "can affect everyone, asthmatic or not".

The combo of thunderstorms and pollen concentration

Why this Thursday, June 6 ? Because this date constitutes both the hottest day of the week, and that it is associated with a risk of thunderstorms generalized to around thirty departments.

Heat is an aggravating factor during periods of high risk of pollen allergy. At the moment, the risk of grass pollen is at its highest throughout France, according to a previous RNSA bulletin.

"These weather conditions, combined with the high concentrations of grass pollen currently observed and forecast for this week considerably increase the risk of thunderstorm asthma", specifies the press release.

Why thunderstorms increase the risk?

When there is a storm, the descending winds increase the concentration of pollen towards the ground by bringing those from the upper layers of air downward.

"Due to the high humidity of the air, gusts of wind and variations in the electric field of the atmosphere, pollens become engorged with water and burst. This results in fine allergenic particles which can penetrate even deeper into the lungs", explains the RNSA.

Who is most at risk ?

Concretely storm asthma, even if it does not necessarily affect people with asthma, manifests itself as an asthma attack, namely sudden difficulty in breathe. The phenomenon described above can go as far as "trigger serious attacks of bronchospasm".

If storm asthma can affect everyone, the people most at risk are children and young adults, people who are allergic to pollen and obviously, people with asthma.

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