Did You Know Thunderstorms Can Worsen Asthma and Allergies?
Many people who suffer from allergies appreciate the arrival of rain. A good rain shower can wash away the mold and pollen particles responsible for causing their watery eyes and itchy throats. But some people have quite the opposite reaction to a heavy downpour. In fact, thunderstorms can worsen some people's symptoms.
Although scientists are still researching and debating the results of thunderstorm allergies, initial analysis reveals some interesting and counterintuitive findings. Not only can thunderstorms increase allergy symptoms among people, some asthma symptoms can be prompted by thunderstorms. This rare health problem has been well documented, yet is not as predictable or understood as other allergic reactions. Some experts suggest that the reaction may be due to an updraft in pollen and mold particles as the beating rain hits the ground. This theory goes on to suggest that these particles are smashed into even smaller sizes which, when inhaled, stick easily to the walls of the lungs.
Instances of these thunderstorm-related symptoms have been tracked most heavily in Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom, but even in these countries it is a rarity. In fact, only 35 articles touching the subject have reportedly been published. In the United States, one 2008 study from Atlanta shows a three percent increase in the number of emergency room visits related to these specific medical concerns following a thunderstorm.
Looking ahead, medical professionals question the future for those who suffer from thunderstorm-related allergies as it relates to global warming. Some scientists predict that thunderstorms will be more frequent with the rising temperatures, causing new concern over this unique medical issue. Urbanization trends also increase the likelihood of thunderstorms and may trigger new cases as well, meaning researchers may shift their focus to understanding this issue as a growing medical problem.