Tis the Season – Spring – albeit a bit late! Lots of spring flowers and lots grass pollen out and about.

Grass pollen season brings a seasonal increase in asthma and hay fever and also the chance of epidemic thunderstorm asthma. Epidemic thunderstorm asthma events are thought to be triggered by a unique combination of high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm, causing a large number of people to develop Asthma symptoms over a short period of time. These don’t happen every year but when they do, they can happen during grass pollen season, which is normally from October through to December.

Below are 4 steps of Asthma first aid:

1. Sit the person upright

2. Give 4 separate puffs of blue/grey reliever puffer

  • Shake puffer
  • Put 1 puff into spacer 
  • Take 4 breaths from spacer
  • Repeat until 4 puffs have been taken
  • Remember: shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths
    OR give 2 separate doses of a Bricanyl inhaler (age 6 & over) or a Symbicort inhaler (over 12)

3. Wait 4 minutes - if there is no improvement, give 4 more separate puffs of bluegrey reliever as above OR give 1 more dose of Bricanyl or Symbicort inhaler

4. If there is still no improvement dial TRIPLE ZERO (000) for an ambulance, if in the bush, use your Emergency+ app. This app has your location on your phone screen. Keep giving 4 separate puff every 4 minutes until emergency assistance arrive, OR 1 dose of Bricanyl or Symbicort every 4 minutes - up to 3 more doses of Symbicort.

Call emergency assistance immediately if:

  • If the person is not breathing
  • If the person's Asthma suddenly becomes worse, or is not improving
  • If the person is having an Asthma attack and a reliever is not available
  • If you are not sure if it's Asthma
  • If the person is known to have Anaphylaxis - follow their Anaphylaxis Action Plan, then give Asthma First Aid. Blue/grey reliever medication is unlikely to harm, even if the person does not have Asthma.

Any hikers please keep a medical history form with all details in a waterproof container in your backpack. Advise your walk leader if you suffer from Asthma, even if it is occasional.

You can also download the VicEmergency app and set up a "watch zone" for your location to receive advise and warnings about potential Asthma events during the spring and grass pollen season.

Source:  Asthma Australia & Victoria State Goverment


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