What is thunderstorm asthma?

Thunderstorm asthma is asthma that is triggered by a particular type of thunderstorm when there is high amounts of grass pollen in the air (typically between October and end December). It can result in people wheezing, feeling short of breath, and tight in the chest with coughing. This can be sudden, serious, and even life threatening.

You are at risk of thunderstorm asthma if you:

  • have asthma (or have had asthma in the past)
  • have hay fever (allergy affecting the nose) during Spring.

If you feel short of breath, tight in the chest, wheeze or cough during pollen season – you might have undiagnosed asthma.

I was born in India, and I migrated here 35 years ago.

In 2010, November 2010, in the evening I felt a little bit sick like I couldn’t breathe properly, I had a very tight chest, at five o’clock in the morning I fainted and I became black and blue and I couldn’t breathe so my wife panicked and she called the ambulance.

And then I woke up after 36 hours. And they had put me into an induced coma and I realised that I had lost one day. I was there for twelve days.

I never knew that I had allergy to grass – which I found out after this episode.

November 2016, I was not aware that it was a thunderstorm asthma day. I used my medications in the morning and the evening. So I was normal on that day.

I’m very confident that I’m safe with an asthma plan. With my asthma under control I can do anything I want- I travel, I go to various places, and of course I have four grandkids - I play with them, I take them away. So asthma is no hindrance to my enjoyment and fulfilment of my life.

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Last updated: August 2018

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