Thunderstorm Asthma

November 23, 2016| Healthcare News /

Like every Emergency Department in Victoria, Monday night was an unexpectedly busy-to-bursting night with many people attending Epworth Richmond and Epworth Geelong ED and several patients admitted with severe respiratory issues to ICU and respiratory wards.

Managing Director of Epworth Richmond Emergency Department Associate Professor Ron Sultana said Epworth Richmond saw more than 120 patients overnight, with about 45 people presenting with respiratory illness.

We took some overflow cases from other hospitals, but we were also at capacity. In my 23 years as a doctor, I have never experienced anything like this. While most patients responded well to the treatment provided, some cases were so serious they required admission to hospital for further treatment and management.
— Assoc. Prof. Ron Sultana, Managing Director of Epworth Richmond Emergency Department, Epworth HealthCare

“Respiratory distress can be a serious condition and people affected should seek medical advice. Thunderstorm Asthma is a real medical phenomenon. It is caused by high concentrations of pollen and other particles in the air and affects mainly people who suffer from asthma and/or hay fever. However, some people who may not have had asthma before may react to the high levels of allergens in the air and show symptoms”, A/Prof Sultana said.

Director of Emergency Medicine Epworth Geelong Dr Matt Ryan reported more people attending the ED in Waurn Ponds up until it closed at midnight, than had attended in a single day since it opened on 4 July, this year. He advises that people experiencing any breathing problems should phone 000 for an ambulance or contact an Emergency Department for immediate advice and help.

Department of Health & Human Services officials have acknowledged the work of all the Emergency Departments across Victoria including the private hospital EDs in managing the thunderstorm asthma crisis this week.

Story courtesy The Age, Channel Seven, Asthma and Allergy groups.



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