NEW pollen traps in Creswick will contribute to a world-leading thunderstorm asthma warning system across the state.
Creswick is one of five new sites adding to pollen data collections in Parkville, Burwood and Geelong.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy launched the Labor Government’s epidemic forecasting system in time for grass pollen season in a bid to better predict and respond to large-scale emergencies.
This follows last November’s major outbreak in which pharmacies were called on to boost ventolin supply at Ballarat emergency departments, which were flooded with people predominantly experiencing breathing difficulties.
Storms picked up tiny allergenic pollen fragments, which penetrated deep into people’s lungs, when conditions were, dry and hot.
The new monitoring system will analyse grass pollen forecasts, weather observations and data including wind changes, temperature, rainfall and grass coverage.
It will then identify the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma using a traffic light scale – green for low, orange for moderate, and red for high – and trigger warnings if required.
Asthmatics and people who experience bad hay fever are urged to take precautionary measures now.
UFS pharmacist Peter Fell told The Courier last month that health professionals in Ballarat were preparing for another bad season.
Mr Fell said those at-risk needed to make sure their conditions were under-control or well-controlled by speaking to a general practitioner or pharmacist.
The forecasting system will run until the end of December. To access the forecasts, download the Vic Emergency App or visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au/prepare.