DOWNPOURS could make asthma and hay fever symptoms “much worse” tomorrow thanks to a rare weather phenomenon.
Doctors have warned that asthmatics and hay fever sufferers will face a higher risk of deadly allergic reactions due to the current thunderstorms.
The combination of high pollen counts and wet weather creates a phenomenon known as “thunder fever” or “thunderstorm asthma”.
The phenomenon happens when moisture brought by the storm shatters pollen normally too large to enter the lungs into tiny pieces.
As these particles fall back down to earth they can travel deeper into people’s airways than normal, potentially triggering or exacerbating an attack.
It comes as the Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms across swathes of the south today and tomorrow.
Millions of Brits have been told to start packing up their belongings and “get ready to go” as torrential downpours and flash floods put lives at risk.
And the Environment Agency estimates more than three million homes in England are vulnerable to floods as the downpour hits. Up to two inches of rain is set to fall in just three hours.
On thunderstorm asthma, Dr Farooque tweeted: “The last episode major UK episode was in London in 1994.”
In 1994, southern and central England was hit by a thunderstorm asthma epidemic that resulted in about 7,000 people suffering asthma attacks in the space of an hour.
And Dr Farooque added that if you have to go outside, you should wear a mask to limit your exposure to pollen particles,
Th medic said while grass pollen levels are falling other plants are still producing high levels of allergens.
She said: “Although grass pollen levels are falling, weed pollen levels are high, as are levels of Alternaria (found in soil and on plants, cereal grains, grass & rotten wood.”
Sufferers who experience an asthma attack should take antihistamines.
If suffering a severe attack she said to take four puffs of the blue reliever and wait four minutes, repeating once if necessary.
Several previous health alerts relating high pollen counts, warm weather, and storms have already been issued to Britain’s asthmatics and hay fever sufferers this year.
Met Office forecasters have predicted “thundery showers” for much of the UK – with thunderstorms “popping up anywhere”.
Thunderstorms are set to move south overnight and into Wednesday – with a waterspout spotted off the coast in Fowey Harbour, Cornwall, today.
Roads already turned into rivers last night with the Met Office warning of the risk of power cuts.
Despite the rain, temperatures will remain in the 20s in parts – but it will feel far cooler than last month’s record-breaking heat.
And some experts fear the downpours may make little difference to the water shortage as it could be the “wrong sort of rain”.