Thunderstorm-associated asthma attack

A first observation on Thunderstorm-associated asthma in the Mediterannean area by the Aerobiology and Pollution IG Chairman.

Naples, Italy

People affected by pollen allergy should be particularly alert to the danger of being outdoors during a thunderstorm in the pollen season.

Six adults and a girl of 11, experienced severe asthma attacks - nearly fatal in one case – during a thunderstorm in Naples, Italy on June 4, 2004. All patients received treatment in emergency departments, where it was registered that four of them had a history of asthma and the other two a history of rhinitis. None of them were taking antiallergic and/or antiasthma drugs on a regular basis at the time when the thunderstorm struck.

It is interesting to note that all patients were outdoors at the time of the thunderstorm and, according to the findings of Pr.G. D’Amato, EAACI Aerobioloy & Pollution IG Chairman, and his research team at the "Cardarelli” Hospital in Naples, the allergic respiratory symptoms of all seven patients were due to exposure to Parietaria pollen, an Urticarea widely spread in the Naples area. According to the pollen diary, the concentration of airborne Parietaria pollen grains was particularly high - a peak of 144 grains/m3 being recorded on June 3. However, air pollution levels were not particularly high on June 3rd and 4th.

Full article is published at BMJ Q & A Archive.
Last updated 07 November 2014