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Free educational workshops on thunderstorm asthma are being offered to Victorian nurses and other healthcare professionals in preparation for the upcoming spring season.

Six workshops will be delivered around metropolitan Melbourne in September by the National Asthma Council Australia and supported by the Victorian government.

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.

The workshops will be held in areas where there is a high concentration of those affected groups: the cities of Whitehorse, Monash, Brimbank, Greater Dandenong, Wyndham and Casey.

National Asthma Council Australia CEO Siobhan Brophy said that healthcare professionals needed 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.

“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 are aimed at asthma educators, practice nurses, GPs and pharmacists to upskill and prepare for any future thunderstorm event.

They will cover:

  • the phenomena 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
  • emergency asthma management and asthma first aid.

The National Asthma Council Australia will distribute multilingual resources at each workshop which will be held during the evenings from 6.30-9pm.

Nurses can contact their local Primary Health Network to register.

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