Thunderstorm asthma workshops

heavy clouds

National Asthma Council Australia will deliver six free educational workshops on thunderstorm asthma for health professionals

The workshops will be held throughout metropolitan Melbourne in, September supported by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The workshops are aimed at general practitioners, pharmacists, asthma educators and practice nurses who want to upskill and prepare their practices before the upcoming spring season.

Asian and Indian migrants were disproportionately affected by Melbourne’s unprecedented 2016 epidemic thunderstorm asthma event.

A study published in The Lancet in June 2018 found that people of Indian, Sri Lankan or south-east Asian ethnicity made up 39% of hospital admissions related to the event.

As a result, the workshops are being held in areas covering the Cities of Whitehorse, Monash, Brimbank, Greater Dandenong, Wyndham and Casey, where there is a high concentration of the affected groups.

National Asthma Council Australia CEO Siobhan Brophy said that health professionals need to prepare their patients for the higher pollen counts and unexpected weather changes that could trigger asthma attacks this spring.

“Our workshops will focus on how health professionals can engage with multicultural communities to ensure that they’re ready for any future thunderstorm asthma events,” she said.

“People with asthma need to ensure that they proactively manage their symptoms and have an asthma action plan in place, prepared by their GP.”

The workshops will cover:

  • the phenomenon of thunderstorm asthma;
  • who is at greater risk of thunderstorm asthma;
  • how to apply current, evidence-based best practice of asthma and allergic rhinitis to professional practice;
  • the importance of written asthma action plans and how to use them; and
  • emergency asthma management and asthma first aid.

Hosted by local Primary Health Networks, the workshops will be held from 6.30pm to

9.00pm on the following dates and in the following locations:

  • Thursday 6 September, ST ALBANS
  • Tuesday 11 September, CRANBOURNE
  • Wednesday 12 September, MULGRAVE
  • Thursday 13 September, WERRIBEE
  • Tuesday 18 September, DANDENONG
  • Thursday 20 September, NUNAWADING

National Asthma Council Australia will distribute multilingual resources, developed by DHHS, at each workshop.

Multicultural health professional organisations are assisting in promoting the workshops and interested health workers can contact their local Primary Health Network to register.

More information and resources for health professionals are available at the National Asthma Council Australia website.

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  1. patrick Mahony

    Thunderstorms are part of summer. Flowering crops are also part of summer. Apiarists (Bee Farmer) are followers of storms and seasons. In the 1990’s together with the local GPs and an apiarist and the pharmacy we developed an Asthma Management plan around these conditions.
    Once Ian, the Bee Farmer, identified a storm tracking into our area, he contacted me, the “B Pharmer” and we contacted people on our list, to advise them to move into this phase of their Asthma Management Plan, developed with the GPs.
    Our 3 year trial proved it worked. In that period if a person attended our local health service after hours for an acute asthma episode, one of the following conditions applied;
    1. they did not normally attend the local surgery and/or
    2.they did not normally attend the local pharmacy.
    In 1998 we tried to sell this concept to researchers without success.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      Patrick, this sounds awesome.

      do you still run it now?

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