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Summer thunderstorms leaving you feeling under the weather?


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Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    Yes I know the instant reaction here will be what Summer thunderstorms?!! Posted Image Here's an interesting article from the Mail Online:

     

    Ever wondered why summer thunderstorms leave you feeling under the weather? It's because they can induce asthma attacks

    • [*]The changes in air temperature in a thunderstorm lifts pollen off the ground [*]The humidity then breaks the pollen grains into tiny allergenic fragments [*]These asthma attacks can affect people without a history of the ailment [*]Thunderstorm asthma 'epidemics' have occurred over the past 30 years

    Thunderstorms scare a lot of children, but Lottie Jacobs, seven, has more reason than most to fear them - they can bring on life-threatening asthma attacks. Lottie was diagnosed with asthma at the age of two, says her mother, Emma, 37, from Hereford.  'She was given an inhaler, which helped at night, but she soon started having regular asthma attacks that were severe enough to land her in hospital every couple of weeks. She was given a preventer inhaler, but it didn't help a lot.' 

     

    Lottie has what's known as brittle asthma (also known as difficult or severe asthma) because it's very difficult to manage and puts her at high risk of sudden and severe attacks. About a quarter of a million people in the UK have this type of asthma. She has several triggers, such as when she gets upset and winter chest infections. 'Exposure to triggers can cause the airways to tighten up and become more sensitive and twitchy,' says Sue Kropf, an Asthma UK adviceline nurse.  'This leads to asthma symptoms, which are coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and/or chest tightness. Emotional responses - stress, laughter and excitement - can also make asthma symptoms worse and even bring on an asthma attack.' 

     

    However, Emma began to notice that the frequency of Lottie's attacks increased during the summer. Hot, dry days wouldn't affect her, but if the weather was dry for a few days and then turned humid and stormy, Lottie was in trouble. 

    'Thunderstorms would set off a severe attack,' says Emma, who is a full-time mother. 'Shortly after a storm, her lips would go blue, her nostrils would flare, her wheezing would start and she'd end up in hospital again. 'I was completely mystified. How could a thunderstorm set off a child's asthma?'

     
    In fact, Lottie was suffering from thunderstorm asthma.  'Thunderstorms move at tremendous speed and changes in air temperature cause cold air to sink, replacing warm air at ground level,' explains Shuaib Nasser, a consultant in allergy and asthma at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  Dr Nasser adds: 'Unfortunately, this causes allergens such as pollen to be lifted off the ground, into the air and up to a level at which they can be inhaled into the lungs.'  The humidity also breaks the pollen grains into tinier, highly allergenic fragments, according to a report in the European Respiratory Review - this means they can penetrate the smaller airways.

     

    Posted Image

    There have been several 'epidemics' of thunderstorm asthma around the world since the condition was identified 30 years ago

     

    However, it's not always pollen that's to blame for thunderstorm asthma. Fungal spores have been identified as a major culprit - in particular, a spore called Alternaria, which grows at the base of cereal crops and also sticks to grass. When farmers harvest their crops or lots of people mow their lawns, it shears off and fragments the Alternaria spores, so they're easier to inhale into the lower airways.

     

    Farmers will often harvest a crop early if they know a storm is coming, explaining the high levels of spores found in the air - living in a city doesn't offer protection, as weather systems can carry clouds of spores for hundreds of miles.

    There have been several 'epidemics' of thunderstorm asthma around the world since the condition was first identified over 30 years ago.  A major episode occurred in London in the summer of 1994 when, over a 30-hour period following a huge thunderstorm, 640 people went to A&E with acute asthma, almost ten times the usual number, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. A terrifying aspect of thunderstorm asthma is that not all those affected in these epidemics had a history of asthma. 

     

    Posted Image

    The humidity introduced by thunderstorms breaks pollen grains into tiny allergenic fragments, exacerbating asthmatics

     

    Storms can cause a sudden and severe attack in people who had never had one before. In London in 1994, for instance, 283 of the patients had never previously had an asthma attack. However, a large proportion of these people had hay fever, which may be a vital clue.  'Not all storms cause asthma, so our research suggests that these epidemics are a result of certain factors coming together during a large-scale thunderstorm,' says Dr Nasser.  'First, the people affected are usually already prone to allergies, such as hay fever and eczema. 'Second, we think that their airways are primed by the arrival of the pollen season (which is May to July), so they may already be experiencing some asthma symptoms.' 

     

    The third factor is high levels of fungal spores during the fungal spore season, which runs July to September. Indeed, airborne Alternaria spores were found in high levels during previous thunderstorm epidemics.  A study by Dr Nasser and colleagues found that 23 out of 26 patients who'd gone to A&E with asthma after a 2002 Cambridge epidemic had an allergy to Alternaria. 'When a storm throws up huge volumes of allergens into the air, it can cause life-threatening asthma attacks in people whose airways are already susceptible,' says Dr Nasser.So how can you protect yourself from a thunderstorm-related asthma attack? 

     

    Posted Image

    For Lottie, summer often results in a lot of time spent indoors, in a bid to avoid stormy weather

     

    'First, if you already have asthma, ask your GP to arrange an allergy skin-prick or blood test to find out exactly what you're allergic to - don't just assume it's pollen,' says Dr Nasser. 'This can help you and your asthma specialist to form a plan that's specific to you, including the use of antihistamines to control hay fever. 

     

    'If you have asthma affected by certain seasons, see your GP or asthma specialist at least two weeks before the start of that season to discuss your medications. They will most likely need to be temporarily increased.'  There are two general types of inhaler used for asthma - relievers and preventers. A reliever (usually blue) is designed to relieve the symptoms of asthma when  they're happening. 

     

    Preventers (usually brown, red or orange) are generally steroids that provide more constant, long-term protection. 

    You may need one or both of these inhalers if you have asthma affected by the seasons. Asthma UK also advises sufferers to stay abreast of weather forecasts and pollen counts (see the Met Office website) and check spore counts. If a thunderstorm is forecast, stay inside before, during and after the storm with the windows closed and have your reliever inhaler to hand.

     

    Other types of weather can also cause problems for people with asthma. 'Lottie starts wheezing in humid weather as well,' says Emma.  As well as taking preventer medicine in advance of stormy weather, Lottie also has an antihistamine during the summer months as she has hay fever, too.  And she has to stay inside before, during and after a storm, with all the windows closed.So, for Lottie, summer can result in a lot of time spent indoors.  'She's quite accepting about it, as she knows it's for her own good,' Emma says.  'But it is a bit of a pain, especially as she has a younger sister, Ruby, who doesn't have asthma but has to join us. It's worth it, though, because it could save her life.'

     

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2347728/Ever-wondered-summer-thunderstorms-leave-feeling-weather-Its-induce-asthma-attacks.html
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    Posted
  • Location: Medway - 125m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Hot summers, snowy winters and thunderstorms!
  • Location: Medway - 125m ASL

    They have totally the opposite effect on me. I get excitable and full of energy!

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    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    They have totally the opposite effect on me. I get excitable and full of energy!

    I agree. It's the lack of storms that gets me down...Posted Image 

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    Posted
  • Location: King’s Lynn, Norfolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Hot and Thundery, Cold and Snowy
  • Location: King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

    They make me stay up for hours if they are at night and make me feel on top of the weather! 

    I wonder how it would be to see one after 5 years worth of stormless nights, as the last time i stayed up watching a major plume in 2005 or 06 I only had school to go to the next morning. I think work would be a little different!! 

    I swear if we had some cracking night time lightning everyone round my area would freak out as it is as rare as hens teeth nowadays.

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    Posted
  • Location: Guildford, Surrey.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow
  • Location: Guildford, Surrey.

    It's not the thunderstorms that make me under the weather, it's the constant dross and missing out like we are getting yet again this 'summer' that leave me feeling fed up, bad tempered, irritable and tired and extremely b-o-o-r-r-e-e-d. Yawn.

    Seeing other people get all the fun (like 28th June last year) just exacerbates this frustration especially when there are no other exciting weather or non-weather events to look forward to in a 'post-holiday' set-up.

    Thunderstorms leave me energetic and feeling full of life and they bring a welcome relief to the monotony of daily humdrum life as does snow in the winter.

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    Posted
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire
  • Weather Preferences: Cool not cold, warm not hot. No strong Wind.
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire

    never under the weather :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    They have totally the opposite effect on me. I get excitable and full of energy!

     

    Same here, but I don't suffer from asthma so I am probably very lucky.

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    Posted
  • Location: Caterham-on-the-hill, Surrey, 190m asl (home), Heathrow (work)
  • Location: Caterham-on-the-hill, Surrey, 190m asl (home), Heathrow (work)

    They have totally the opposite effect on me. I get excitable and full of energy!

     

    Indeed! I feel under the weather when there are no storms ...

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    Posted
  • Location: Ipswich. (Originally from York)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder Storms. All extreme weather.
  • Location: Ipswich. (Originally from York)

    Even if a storm is miles away, I can sense it and I am up there with old Icarus. :D Not..I hasten to add, getting me wings singed. Well, lets face it...there's b***er all to singe me wings with really.

    Not having storms makes me gloomy and sad. :(

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    Posted
  • Location: Douglas, Isle of Man - 380ft/116m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Warm summers, cold winters.. How it should be!
  • Location: Douglas, Isle of Man - 380ft/116m ASL

    What's more annoying than just missing the storms is the fact that when its 22° in Liverpool or Belfast, its 15° here and when the wind is less that 5kts in Liverpool or Belfast, the wind here is a gale force 8. Amazing what that sea does. Anyone want to help me fill it in? Don't use the boat to get here though. They'll set you back £500 for a car.

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    Posted
  • Location: Fazendas de,Almeirim, Portugal
  • Location: Fazendas de,Almeirim, Portugal

    Having asthma would just be another reason to add to the existing ones for hoping to avoid and not wanting any thunderstorms. Thankfully I don't suffer with this difficult complaint as a surprisingly large number of people do

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    Thunder clouds can effectively suck in pollutants including pollen, spores etc then release them during the actual life-cycle of some storms - more on this below.

    http://www.asthma.org.uk/knowledge-bank-weather

    And a related news item from Oz.

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/storms-trigger-asthma-explosion-as-pollen-fills-the-air-20111108-1n4qw.html

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    Posted
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield
  • Weather Preferences: Any Extreme
  • Location: Sheffield South Yorkshire 160M Powering the Sheffield Shield

    Having asthma would just be another reason to add to the existing ones for hoping to avoid and not wanting any thunderstorms. Thankfully I don't suffer with this difficult complaint as a surprisingly large number of people do

    Never bothered me to be honest.

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    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Wigan
  • Location: Wigan

    Well, I am feeling under the weather right becuse of thunderstorms, because there bleeding haven't been any at all this year! Posted Image  and not likely to be anytime soon, and August is beckoning , just unreal

     

    Its not just the T and L , and torrential rain but seeing them bubble up in the distance and anvilate ,knowing what going on inside them and knowing they are heading towards you, etc

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    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted
  • Location: Darwen, BB3
  • Location: Darwen, BB3

    Can't say I've ever heard of Asthma being triggered by storms, by humidity maybe but never storms themselves. 

     

    This.

     

    As a sufferer myself I find it is far worse before the storms arrival, once one comes through and the rain starts falling it normally abates.

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