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Journal Articles Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine Year : 2021

Thunderstorm allergy and asthma: state of the art

Stefano del Giacco
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Abstract

Thunderstorm-triggered asthma (TA) can be defined as the occurrence of acute asthma attacks immediately following a thunderstorm during pollen seasons. Outbreaks have occurred across the world during pollen season with the capacity to rapidly inundate a health care service, resulting in potentially catastrophic outcomes for allergicpatients. TA occurs when specific meteorological and aerobiological factors combine to affect predisposed atopic patients with IgE-mediated sentitization to pollen allergens. Thunderstorm outflows can concentrate aeroallergens, most commonly grass pollen but also other pollens such as Parietaria and moulds in TA, at ground level to release respirable allergenic particles after rupture by osmotic shock related to humidity and rainfall. Inhalation of high concentrations of these aeroallergens by sensitized individuals can induce early asthmatic responses which can be followed by a late inflammatory phase. There is evidence that, during pollen season, thunderstorms can induce allergic asthma outbreaks, sometimes also severe asthma crisis and sometimes deaths in patients suffering from pollen allergy. It has been observed that changes in the weather such as rain or humidity may induce hydratation of pollen grains during pollen seasons and sometimes also their fragmentation which generates atmospheric biological aerosols carrying allergens. Asthma attacks are induced for the high concentration at ground level of pollen grains which may release allergenic particles of respirable size after rupture by osmotic shock. In other words, it is a global health problem observed in several cities and areas of the world that can strike without sufficient warning, inducing sometimes severe clinical consequences also with deaths of asthma patients. Due to constant climate change, future TA events are likely to become more common, more disastrous and more unpredictable, as a consequence it is important to have deep knowledge on this topic to prevent asthma attacks. Other environmental factors, such as rapid changes in temperature and agricultural practices, also contribute to causing TA.
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Dates and versions

hal-03672981 , version 1 (23-05-2023)

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Gennaro d'Amato, Isabella Annesi‐maesano, Marilyn Urrutia-Pereira, Stefano del Giacco, Nelson Augusto Rosário Filho, et al.. Thunderstorm allergy and asthma: state of the art. Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine, 2021, 16 (1), pp.806. ⟨10.4081/mrm.2021.806⟩. ⟨hal-03672981⟩
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