Thunderstorm Asthma

What is it?

Thunderstorm asthma is a generic term to describe an unexpected surge in acute bronchospasm cases presenting at Emergency Departments and GPs with respiratory distress, during a period of high thunderstorm activity.

Many cases are NOT previously diagnosed as being asthmatic but are generally atopic individuals (suffer from Hay-fever).

What is the Cause?

Thunderstorm asthma is caused by aeroallergens.

In Australia, these are primarily Rye Grass pollen and some types of mould spores, and in the USA, Ragweed pollen and some mould spores, whereas in countries without known allergenic grasses, mould spores predominant.

It is thought that the pollen grains are drawn into the thunderstorm cell, where the sudden increase in humidity causes the pollen grains (normally 20 to 25 microns) to swell and rupture, thus distributing their starch grain contents, which are both fine enough to be drawn deep into the respiratory system (0.6 to 2.5 microns) and contain allergenic proteins and Reactive Oxygen species-producing NAD(P)H oxidases, which trigger an inflammatory response in the airways.

Corrective Measures.

Currently, known treatments only concentrate on pharmaceutical measures to treat or prevent symptoms, primarily the inflammatory response treating the symptom. A better alternative is to treat the causal factor and treat the air with Katharsis.

Katharsis’s state of the art technology eliminates the pollens thus removing the patient’s exposure to the allergen.

Katharsis not only captures and treats the pollen grains, but also the much smaller starch granules, which are the root of the problem.

Kings Funerals has installed three Katharsis units on the roof of its Newcomb funeral home allowing the venue’s 450 cubic metres of air to be fully refreshed every 10 minutes.

General manager Beth King said Kings Funerals was proud to support a Geelong company offering an improved level of protection against viruses such as Covid-19.

“We want to do all that we can to provide a safe environment for people attending our services,” Ms King said.

The C6 Group is keen to work with other Geelong organisations to assist in their Covid-19 recoveries with the Katharsis units particularly relevant to hospitality, accommodation, education and aged care venues.


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