On June 10 and 11, a hospital in the Paris region saw the number of emergency patients with asthma jump, when the weather was particularly stormy.
In Argenteuil, in the Val d’Oise, emergency room consultations for asthma were multiplied by 10, on June 10 and 11, when the weather was particularly stormy. With France Bleu, the head of the emergency department in Argenteuil Catherine Le Gall testifies: “It considerably increased the activity of the emergencies, we had a dozen patients who were constantly renewed. I have been working in the emergency room for 22 years , I have never seen this phenomenon! It’s actually an episode ofthunderstorm asthma.
Particles vaporized like an aerosol
Usually, in the spring, rain is expected by those allergic to pollen, because it limits its dispersion. But when there are storms, the phenomenon is different: the pollens are fragmented, divided into smaller particles by the storm activity and they thus move more easily in the atmosphere, in particular because of the winds.
With BFMTV, Maxime Gauthier, head of the emergency department at the Simone Veil hospital in Eaubonne (Val d’Oise) explains: “These pollens are sucked up by the clouds in the atmosphere, they are mixed with water and electrified by lightning, then are broken into tiny particles and sprayed like an aerosol“.
Many people who went to the emergency room did not suffer from asthma, but were prone to allergic rhinitis: “Thunderstorms trigger swelling and fragmentation of pollen, which penetrate more easily and further into the respiratory tract“, then causing difficulty in breathing, adds Catherine Le Gall to France Bleu.
In the event of a thunderstorm, some doctors advise people prone to pollen allergies to avoid exposure to the outside air, and before symptoms appear, to protect themselves with a surgical mask.
Sources: France Bleu, BFMTV