Thunderstorm asthma could be a problem this summer

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(ABC 6 News) – The combination of warmer temperatures and higher humidity during summer months allow mold spores and different types of pollen to thrive.

Also, when you combine warm moist air with a cold or warm front, storms can carry the pollen. Dr. Laurie Manka was born and raised in Rochester. She did her pulmonary critical care training at Mayo Clinic, and now is a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. She has been dealing with cases, and understands some of the science behind the pollen within a thunderstorm.

“The humidity and the electricity break those pollens into much smaller particles.”

As those small pollen particles make their way close to the surface, they are easier to breath in, causing asthma to flare up. Dr. Manka lists a few symptoms.

“Bringing up mucus from the chest, wheezing which is making noise when you breath out and then frequent chest pressure, like a band around the chest.”

When a thunderstorm is taking place, the saying goes: when thunder roars, go indoors.

Before storms arrive, conditions tend to be very muggy and warm during late Spring and all of Summer. This will have an impact on people who plan to attend events within the community.

Gregory Isreal has a grandson with asthma. Gregory is also part of a band, and they often perform at events on warm, humid days.
He says he takes extra precautions to keep his grandson healthy when he’s watching the shows. “I have an umbrella to try to keep him in the shade. I have a spray bottle, you know a little mist.”

It’s also important to know your surroundings. Isreal “is really” good at doing just that. “Keep him by some water. Keep him cool. That asthma is nothing to play with.”

Sophie Frazier is visiting mayo clinic to help with allergies. She’s from Texas, a state with a much warmer and more humid climate than Minnesota or Iowa. There are specific things for her that can make it harder to breathe. “Especially with sports and being outside along with pollen, it is a bigger issue.”

She also has tricks that help her deal with her allergies. “Honestly neti pots saved my life. Those are the way to go if you can’t breathe.”

It also helps to know what type of pollen or mold causes your asthma to flare up, as that can help plan your events, what time to go to them, and the medications to take at events this summer.

With storms in the forecast over the next week or so and still plenty of opportunities for warm and humid conditions this Summer, we could see plenty of people develop health issues if the right steps are not taken.