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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 07/16/2008

Thunderstorms and Asthma: A New link

Wx and the City

By Ann Posegate

If you're planning on exercising outdoors anytime soon, you may want to do so in the morning. For one, air quality (particulate and ozone levels) is worse in the evening hours, after building up from a day's worth of vehicle emissions. But thunderstorms are also more likely in the later part of the day (in fact, the forecast calls for a chance of some this weekend), and apparently they can do more harm than lightning strikes and property damage. According to a new study by a research team from the University of Georgia and Emory University, thunderstorms can also trigger asthma attacks.

Climatologists and epidemiologists teamed up for a 10-year study on emergency room visits in the Atlanta metro area -- the first of its kind to focus on the southern U.S. They found a 3 percent rise in asthma-related emergency room visits the day after thunderstorms. Though more research will be done as to the how's and why's of the relationship, it is believed that asthma attacks are triggered from pollen grains ruptured by heavy rain and airborne particles dispersed by high winds.

If you live in Atlanta, you might not want to pack your bags and move to D.C. just yet. We certainly have our share of thunderstorms and air pollution alerts during the summer, and more than 40,000 adults and 10,000 children in the District alone have asthma.

By  |  10:45 AM ET, 07/16/2008

Categories:  Health, Health, Health

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