“Thunderstorm Asthma” Hospitalizes 8,500 in Australia
I thought I had seen everything. I was wrong.
6 people are dead, thousands temporarily hospitalized when moisture within a thunderstorm hitting Melbourne, Australia combined with pollen to trigger severe asthma attacks. A third of patients who suffered these attacks reported never having asthma before. The storm broke up grass pollen into tinier fragments, penetrating deep inside people’s lungs. These events are rare, but similar cases of thunderstorm asthma have been reported in Britain, Italy, Canada and the USA.
Natural and man-made pollutants lead to twice as many premature deaths in the USA as auto accidents; over 70,000/year. People suffering from COPD and asthma are most at risk. Some of the most severe cases of air pollution strike in late fall, when warm air aloft can trap bad air near the ground.
Rain showers linger today; the atmosphere marginally cold enough for light snow later this week, …