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Asthma & Weather
It seems reasonable to think that rain would relieve allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma triggered by pollen by washing pollen out of the air. This is incorrect as heavy rain often makes some people get worse. Epidemics of thunderstorm asthma have been described in Melbourne, Wagga and London. Here's why.
Around 1 in 4 people with hay fever also have asthma.
Some people with severe allergic rhinitis (hay fever) think that their allergic rhinitis turns into asthma or will make them tight in the chest or wheeze. This is incorrect as pollen can trigger asthma as well as allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Grass pollen can be wind-blown for long distances.
Pasture grasses rely on the wind to distribute their pollen. A single hectare of ryegrass, for example, will release hundreds of kilograms of pollen per season. The concentration of pollen will be highest nearest its source, but high-speed winds will distribute pollen grains over long distances.
Not all allergen, however, is contained within intact pollen grains. Other allergen-carrying particles (as small as 0.1 um diameter) can carry grass and tree allergens. Unlike most intact pollen grains (generally 2-60 um diameter), these smaller particles are capable of reaching the small airways of the lung and triggering asthma attacks.
These particles may come from fragments of pollen grains, from plant sap (such as that released from grass blades when mowing the lawn) or the decay of plant material. Some of them might even be derived from the sticking of allergen to particles of atmospheric pollution.
Thunderstorms and weather changes can trigger asthma attacks
It seems reasonable to think that rain could help relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hayfever) and asthma by "washing" pollen out of the air. Paradoxically, some people actually feel worse. So-called thunderstorm asthma has been described in epidemics in Melbourne, Wagga and London. An explanation has been found in recent studies on how allergen can be released into the atmosphere.
Some grass allergen (like ryegrass allergen Lol pIX) is located on the surface of starch granules within pollen grains. A single pollen grain contains up to 700 starch granules of 0.6 to 2.5 um (small enough to reach the lower airways in the lung). When it rains or is humid, pollen grains can absorb moisture and burst, releasing hundreds of small allergenic particles that can penetrate deep into the small airways of the lung.
Not everyone who gets thunderstorm asthma has had it before. They have normally had severe pollen allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and most have been found to be allergic to ryegrass. Presumably the massive load of small allergenic particles being inhaled straight into the lung trigger these attacks.
Pollen asthma can be treated effectively
Appropriate management of chronic pollen asthma (which probably has a similar mechanism to thunderstorm asthma) includes commencing anti-inflammatory (preventer) asthma medication. This can be given preventatively or with the first wheeze in Spring. Some patients undergoing immunotherapy (desensitisation) for their allergic rhinitis (hay fever) find that their seasonal asthma improves as well. So if you wheeze during Spring, see your doctor for appropriate advice.
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Immunisation and Health Check
No Jab, No Pay – Immunisation Requirements
To meet immunisation requirements and be eligible for their full rate of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A, children need to be immunised in accordance with the National Immunisation Program early childhood vaccination schedule, on an approved catch-up schedule or have an approved exemption.
From 1 July 2018, families with children who are not immunised according to the early childhood vaccination schedule appropriate for the child’s age (and do not have an approved exemption) will have a reduction applied to their FTB Part A child rate for each child who does not meet the immunisation requirements.
Vaccine objection (previously known as conscientious objection) is no longer an exemption category. Families with children aged over 12 months who do not have an approved exemption — for example a medical exemption (medical contraindication or natural immunity certified by a recognised immunisation provider) or, in very limited circumstances, a Secretary’s exemption — are not eligible to receive their full entitlement to FTB Part A for that child.
For further information visit the Department of Human Services website.
Healthy Start for School - Health Check Requirement
In addition to the immunisation requirements, if an individual receives FTB Part A and the individual or their partner is receiving an income support payment during the income year that their child turns four, they need to make sure their child gets a health check before the child’s fifth birthday.
State and Territory based health assessments or a general health check provided by a local GP are acceptable health checks. For example, an individual may meet the requirements of this initiative if they have completed the three year old check outlined in their child’s personal health record book.
From 1 July 2018, a reduction will be applied to an individual’s FTB Part A child rate from the child’s fifth birthday if the health check requirement is not met, or if the individual does not notify the Department of Human Services that a health check has been completed, by the child’s fifth birthday. The reduction will apply for the corresponding number of days that the individual or their partner received FTB Part A and an income support payment during the income year that the child turned four.
For more information visit the Department of Human Services website.
For people who do not speak English, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is accessible from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call.
The information in the above were collected from the internet,
either from government websites or from reasonably reliable health information sources.
They are for general information only and should not replace the need of seeking medical care during illnesses.