“Thunder fever” causes problems for those with allergies and asthma

Posted By: Alden German

Every year during the spring and summer, pollen floats through the air and can cause breathing problems when inhaled, but did you know thunderstorms can also make it worse? It’s called thunder fever.

"Usually what happens before a thunderstorm is there’s an updraft of air that goes up into the clouds, and with that the pollens will rise with the high humidity and the pollens can then break down into smaller particles, including mold spores, and then settle down to the ground," said Dr. Petra Razdan of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates.

As the moisture content rises, pollen absorbs it and eventually explodes into even tinier pieces that then float through the air. The symptoms are soon apparent.

"People who have allergies and asthma, usually after a thunderstorm, can experience a marked chest tightness, and can have profound lower airway symptoms with wheezing which renders them to go to the emergency room," said Dr. Razdan.

The effects of the storm can last up to two days.. In extremely rare cases it even can be deadly. In 2016 in Australia, strong thunderstorms swept through a region with high pollen counts and eventually resulted in the deaths of nine people.

Don’t be alarmed, you can prepare in advance.

"So I think people with asthma should be aware before a storm is coming to really make sure they’re using their inhaler, they’ve seen their provider, and if they’re experiencing increasing symptoms and need to use a rescue inhaler, seek medical attention as soon as possible," said Dr. Razdan.

Other tips include staying inside when storms roll through and keeping your windows closed so pollen doesn’t blow in.