The so-called Thunderstorm Asthma continues to strike in Australia as hospitals are still facing cases and have registered another death.
Last week, on Monday night, the city of Melbourne, Australia was hit by a wild thunderstorm whose most widespread effects was a series of asthma attacks.
In a city inhabited by an estimated 4.5 million residents, over 8,500 had to receive medical care because of the storm.
All of the respective patients were suffering from rare thunderstorm asthma. Most of those affected by the strange condition have reportedly never suffered through a previous asthma attack.
Out of the total number of patients, the Australian Health Department revealed the condition of its most affected patients.
This Saturday, local authorities have registered the sixth death related to the condition. The statement which announced the news revealed that a further number of 5 patients are still in intensive care units.
Out of the five intensive care patients, three are currently still in a critical health condition. A further number of 12 patients are still hospitalized but in a stable condition.
The remaining patients have less serious respiratory issues or other related conditions.
Reports show that about a third of all those affected by the asthma attack which set off on Monday did not suffer from asthma.
The thunderstorm asthma is a somewhat strange phenomenon whose first recorded outbreak took place in 1987, also in Melbourne.
Back then, hospitals recorded a five-fold increase in the number of asthma cases and attacks as compared to a regular period.
Melbourne experienced another such outbreak back in November 2010. But the Australian city is not the only one to have suffered through such an attack.
Thunderstorm asthma outbreaks have been registered in Canada, the United States of America, Italy, and Britain.
Although the common belief is that rain helps relieve allergens, recent studies reveal that this may not be the case.
It would seem that heavy rains, instead of dispersing the allergens, help them enter even deeper into the respiratory system.
Researchers believe that, during a thunderstorm such as the one registered on Monday, pollen grains tend to absorb the moisture from the air and rain.
These water sodden grains could then burst and disperse into smaller particles that are more easily dispersed throughout the environment.
The tiny particles are also more easily inhalable, and their size allows them to enter deeper into the respiratory system as the usual body defense mechanisms may not detect them.
As they enter the lungs, the pollen allergens can determine asthma attacks in people that do not suffer from the condition or that have not experienced previous attacks.
The reason for this may be the high concentration levels of the allergens as they can trigger unknown sensitiveness or further affect the known ones.
The registered thunderstorm asthma deaths have mostly been caused by complications brought along by the rare condition.
Specialists that have been studying the phenomenon have released a series of advice that could help combat its effects.
As those interested should consult allergy and asthma specialists, the most simple advice for those sensible to allergens would be to try to avoid outdoors activities following a storm.
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