Have you noticed that your asthma seems to get worse when it is rainy and damp outside? There are several ways rain may trigger your asthma.
In 2016 a strange thing happened in Melbourne, Australia. During a rash of thunderstorms, the hospitals found themselves overrun with people suffering from acute breathing issues. Eight people died.
So that raises an interesting question for doctors and asthma sufferers, “was it the storm, or the rain, or just a weird coincidence that caused those people to suffer in Australia”?
What Causes Thunderstorm Asthma?
Theories abound as to the cause, but it does appear that storms can trigger asthma attacks in certain individuals. Doctors have even gone so far as to coin the term “thunderstorm asthma” to describe the phenomenon.
Here is what they think causes thunderstorm asthma.
Pollen is everywhere, especially in the springtime. You may even see it floating in the air. These allergens sometimes cause asthma to get worse. In a light rainstorm, some find that their asthma seems to get a little better. The reason is due to the rain dampening all the pollen. This keeps the particles out of the air and away from you.
However, when the rain becomes heavy this is not the case. While studying the strange Australian event, researchers found that heavy rain and lightning break up the pollen into more particles which releases them into the air. With all the pollen released into the air, lungs experience airway inflammation causing an asthma flare-up.
All that moisture in the air, inside and outside, helps known allergens to thrive. Mold is a primary trigger for lung issues and mold requires moisture to grow. Dust mites also thrive under humid conditions. The feces of these microscopic insects can cause a histamine reaction in sensitive individuals and cause breathing problems.
Ways To Help Rain Induced Asthma Attacks
Although not everyone has to worry about “thunderstorm asthma,” you might want to ask your doctor about it if you find that your asthma is worse during rainy weather.
In addition, here are a few things that you can do to help your asthma if rain is triggering your asthma.
1. Track the Weather
It is important for you to stay aware of the upcoming weather. Download a weather app or watch the local meteorologist to keep up to date on the weather events. If you see that rain is in the future, make sure you plan accordingly.
2. Stay Indoors
If you suspect that rain triggers your asthma, stay indoors if at all possible when it is raining. You will want to keep your windows and doors closed to prevent any of the humidity or pollen from entering your home.
3. Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan is a written plan that includes medication information, common asthma triggers, and when to seek medical attention. If you or your loved one has asthma, it is imperative to keep this plan up to date. This will help in case of an asthma attack. If you have a child with asthma, make sure they know what this plan is and how to implement it in case of an emergency.
4. Spirometry Exam
If you have asthma, it is important for you to know how your lungs are functioning. A spirometry exam will determine how well your lungs function. This exam could be especially helpful if your asthma is triggered by rain. You take this exam by forcing as much air from the lungs as possible, and the device reads how much is expelled in the first second and how much can be expelled. If you have a child with asthma, Aluna is a great way to take the spirometry exam at home.