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Diet & Nutrition

Melbourne’s latest thunderstorm asthma scare

The Victorian city even ran out of ambulances to accommodate the 1,800 emergency phone calls from acutely ill asthma sufferers.

By Ellie McDonald
Following yesterday’s pre-summer temps firing up cross the country, Melbourne locals weren’t only struck with the city’s hottest day since March, but the thunderstorm that followed saw an influx of people being admitted to hospital for asthma.
According to St Vincent’s Hospital’s Kathy Bowlen, doctors even opened a second emergency room to accommodate the alarming number of people being admitted for asthma- and respiratory-related issues.
"The emergency physicians say not only have they never seen anything like that before, they've never seen so many people arrive at one time all suffering the same condition,” she says.
"We ran out of Ventolin puffers at one point.”
Not only that, but The Age reported that Ambulance Victoria ran out of ambulances to answer the calls of acutely ill people; disaster-trained field doctors and police officers were called into help transport those suffering to hospital.
Experts are coining this mass medical incident as “thunderstorm asthma” – something that apparently Melbourne is known as a “global hotspot” for.
Thunderstorm asthma occurs when a storms stirs up pollen in the air and can impact people who don’t usually suffer from asthma.
One in 10 Australians have asthma, and it is most common in women over the age of 15.
If you are experiencing respiratory issues, seek medical attention immediately.

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