Asthma spikes after thunder

July 18, 2008

Some interesting research has just come in from the University of Georgia Atlanta, and is worth passing on if you know someone with asthma. Apparently hospital emergency room data shows that there is about a 3% increase in asthmas cases coming for treatment the day after a thunderstorm.

The data was collected over the entire 20-county Atlanta region, and was studied initially because asthma is prevalent in the region so that even such a small relative increase could have a significant public health impact in the population.

It is certainly interesting and worth keeping an eye if you are susceptible to asthma attacks, but exactly why thunderstorms might have this effect remains unclear. However, one leading hypothesis is that pollen grains break up by osmotic shock in rainwater, releasing allergens, which are then spread by the gusty winds of the storm.


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