‘Thunderfever’ signs as millions of Brits at risk of fatal attack after storms

Millions of Brits are at risk of a potentially deadly 'thunderfever' attack.

Thunderstorms hit right across Britain yesterday (Wednesday, August 2) after the Met Office were forced to issue a number of weather warnings.

Although conditions look to be more settled today (Thursday, August 3) forecasters have warned warmer weather in the second half of this month could bring more thundery outbreaks.

READ MORE: Atlantic storm to batter Britain with 60mph winds later this week

Moreover, the effects of the storm could last longer for some of the 5.4million Brits who suffer asthma. There is also a risk to hay fever sufferers.

Dr Neel Patel, a GP at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, explained thunderfever refers to "a phenomenon that links asthma attacks and stormy weather".

Explaining the risks, he said: "There are two reasons why thunderstorms can lead to more asthma attacks. Firstly, high winds draw more pollen into the air. Moisture in the air breaks these pollen granules into smaller particles which can get deeper into the airways in the lungs, triggering asthma symptoms.

"Added to this, the air can feel very close and humid before a storm. For people with asthma, this can trigger a tight chest, cough and difficulty breathing."

As such, it is important to be mindful of the symptoms, which are the same as asthma. They include wheezing, breathlessness, a tight chest and coughing.

People should also look out for if their blue reliever inhaler isn't helping, or is needed more than every four hours.

Every 10 seconds somebody in the UK has a life-threatening asthma attack and, although most aren't fatal, Government figures show three people in the country die from one each day.

Dr Patel also shared the following advice.

Prepare an asthma action plan

"An asthma action plan details which medicines you can take to prevent attacks, what to do if your symptoms are getting worse and the emergency action to take in the event of an asthma attack.

"Ensure people you spend a lot of time with are familiar with your action plan and keeping a copy on your person (even if only on your phone) is always a good idea – but especially when storms are forecast."

Keep your inhaler handy

"If you have asthma, it's a good idea to always have your reliever asthma inhaler close at hand. But it's even more important when thunderstorms are forecast."

Stay indoors

"Of course, the pollen concentration will be greatest in the air outside. Stay indoors with the windows closed as much as possible before, during and after the storm."

Wear a mask outside

"If you have to go outdoors, wearing a mask could help. Although not much research has been done into the effectiveness of wearing a mask, it's thought this can help filter out some of the pollen particles from the air you inhale."

Avoid other triggers

"Before, during and after a storm, avoid anything that you know worsens your symptoms. This may include things like exercise and alcohol."

Take your usual medicine

"You should continue taking your usual medication, even if you don't yet feel symptoms worsening. Common asthma treatments include preventer inhalers, reliever inhalers and tablets."

However, it may be the case you experience asthma for the first time during a thunderstorm. "If you feel very tight in the chest and have difficulty breathing, you should seek urgent medical advice, even if you haven't been diagnosed with asthma previously," Dr Patel urged.

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