Urgent warning to millions as triple weather threat could trigger deadly emergencies

UK Asthma sufferers are warned an imminent triple weather threat could trigger dangerous reactions.

The Met Office has said “very high” pollen levels, thunderstorms and warm temperatures are to be expected.

Brits with asthma should be extra cautious this weekend


Brits with asthma should be extra cautious this weekendPhoto credit: Getty
Very high pollen loads have hit the UK


Very high pollen loads have hit the UK

This ‘toxic cocktail’ triples the risk of potentially life-threatening asthma attacks for the six million people in the UK with the disease.

Emma Rubach, Head of Health Advice at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “It’s bad enough when pollen levels are high at this time of year, as pollen is a trigger for more than half of people living with asthma, but in combination with warm weather and thunderstorms, the risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack increases.

“Pollen can inflame the airways of asthmatics, triggering symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

“Stormy weather can make this worse as it breaks down the pollen into much smaller particles which are then breathed deeper into the lungs.

“Hot summer weather can also trigger asthma symptoms in some people. The causes aren’t clear, but it’s thought that hot air narrows the airways, leading to coughing and shortness of breath.

“When it’s hot in summer, there are often more pollutants and pollen in the air.”

The Met Office today issued a yellow weather warning for “thunderstorms and downpours” across much of the UK, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bath.

Thunderstorms and high pollen counts are expected to continue across “much” of England for the remainder of the week.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “Part of southern and central England is experiencing the combination of very high pollen levels and a thunderstorm warning.

“Pollen levels are forecast to remain high or very high in much of England over the next few days before falling as Atlantic dominated weather with wetter and fresher conditions brings some recovery for hay fever sufferers.

“Thunderstorms are likely to remain a feature of the forecast through the weekend, but due to their nature, thunderstorm development will be sporadic and not everyone will encounter them.”

With temperatures reaching 24 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country and the Department for Environment, Food, Rural and Agricultural Affairs (DEFRA) website reports there will also be a “moderate rise” in pollution levels, with lung diseases and asthma having to Precautions are being taken, added Emma Rubach.

What to do if you have an asthma attack?

  1. Sit up straight – try to stay calm
  2. Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds up to 10 puffs
  3. If at any point you feel worse OR don’t feel better after 10 tokes Call 999 for an ambulance
  4. Repeat step 2 after 15 minutes while waiting for an ambulance

Source: Asthma UK

She said: “We would advise people with pollen-induced asthma to take their preventive inhaler as prescribed each day along with their usual hay fever medication to reduce the risk of an asthma attack.

“This reduces airway sensitivity and swelling, helping to prevent asthma symptoms like wheezing and coughing before they even appear.

“We would also like to urge asthmatics to carry their reliever inhaler (usually blue) with them every day, especially when out and enjoying the sun, in case pollen triggers their asthma. Reliver inhalers quickly relax muscles in the airways, providing immediate relief from symptoms.

“You can also reduce the risk of hay fever triggering an asthma attack by treating hay fever symptoms with antihistamines and/or a steroid nasal spray.

“There are many different medications for hay fever and your pharmacist or GP can help you choose the right one for you.” Urgent warning to millions as triple weather threat could trigger deadly emergencies

Sarah Y. Kim

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