Since the epidemic thunderstorm asthma event of 2016 the Victorian Government has been working to ensure the right systems, resources and tools are in place for any future event. Epidemic thunderstorm asthma events are uncommon and don’t occur every year, but when they do, they can happen during grass pollen season from 1 October through 31 December.

The Department of Health and Human Services has been working with the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and other research organisations to develop an epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting system. This system will go live on 1 October and will continue through to end of December to align with the grass pollen season.

Download the Vic Emergency app and set up a ‘watch zone’ for your location to receive advice and warnings about potential epidemic thunderstorm asthma events during the grass pollen season. The department will also operate a subscription service for the distribution of epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasts on forecasted high risk days only. To subscribe please visit www2.health.vic.gov.au/newsletters. This service is available to everyone – you, your colleagues and your family. I encourage you to subscribe to receive alerts to ensure you are informed and prepared this grass pollen season.

The department recently launched an epidemic thunderstorm asthma campaign to help you protect yourself and those in your care. You can access a range of information and resources at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/thunderstorm-asthma