More paramedics rostered on over fears of second 'thunderstorm asthma' outbreak

Laurel Irving

Ambulance Victoria is rostering on more staff this weekend due to fears that a second thunderstorm asthma outbreak may be on its way.

Eight people died in last week’s storm tragedy after strong winds circulated a heavy pollen build up, causing respiratory problems for thousands of residents.

The storm was so bad, paramedics were pushed to the brink as Melbourne hospitals treated thousands of affected patients.

Some of the thunderstorm asthma victims. Source: 7News

Authorities are now anxious to avoid a repeat, with storms set to roll in on Sunday afternoon.

“This is really just a way of going out and saying, ‘look we’ve learned some lessons from last week already, we’re out there preparing’,” Ambulance Victoria spokesperson Paul Holman said.

Conditions are not expected to be as extreme as last week’s storm, but hot and humid weather is forecast before the gusty change moves in.

Last week's thunderstorm. Source: 7News

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“No one should be alarmed. Good idea to be alert,” chief health officer professor Charles Guest said.

The first thunderstorm asthma victim Hope Carnevlai. Source: 7News

Experts are warning anyone with asthma, hayfever and allergies to make sure they have a plan in place and to call 000 if medication is not working.

According to meteorologist Jane Bunn, thunderstorm asthma is caused by tiny pollen particles getting sucked into a developing thunderstorm.

The humid air then makes the particles burst, with the tiny allergens rushing to the ground in a gust front.

Damage during last week's storm. Source: 7News