Frequently Asked Questions

What protective steps can be taken?

There is good evidence that those who were taking inhaled corticosteroid for their asthma prior to 21 November 2016 were protected. As a general principle it is important that asthma is adequately controlled with appropriate (usually inhaled) medication. Those who have been diagnosed with asthma should be provided with a management plan by their GP or specialist and it is important to adhere to the plan, even when feeling well.

Those with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever), without a history of asthma, would be at risk if another similar Thunderstorm Asthma event were to occur. As yet there is no consensus for how best to manage this group of people.

It is possible to diagnose rye grass allergy with a blood test (in addition to clinical assessment). For certain individuals, desensitisation treatment with sublingual tablets may be appropriate and this can be a very effective treatment. Desensitisation (immunotherapy) is best provided by an Allergist or Respiratory Physician.
the lower airways within the lungs. There are subtypes of asthma but In most cases it is an allergic disorder. The degree of airways inflammation fluctuates according to various factors, e.g. exposure to allergens, viruses and other triggers. With enough inflammation symptoms of cough, wheeze, chest tightness and breathlessness are provoked. Even when no symptoms are present there may be significant airways inflammation.

Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world; approximately 15% of our population is affected.

For the vast majority of patients asthma can be well controlled with simple, safe medications that are taken regularly. A small proportion of people have more severe asthma that requires additional medications and specialist management.

Dr Adrian Chazan

MBBS MELB FRACP

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Dr Chazan is a Respiratory & Sleep Physician, and General Physician. Born in Melbourne, he undertook his basic medical training at the University of Melbourne. With a passion for sleep and breathing, he trained at world-renowned centres of excellence in Melbourne and Sydney, including Westmead Hospital, the Alfred Hospital and Monash Medical Centre. Adrian has been involved in research activities in the fields of sleep apnoea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and exercise physiology.

Adrian utilises the latest findings in sleep research as well as the emerging technologies in diagnosis and treatment. He takes a patient-centered approach to medical care with the aim of empowering his patients to achieve better sleep and optimal long-term health outcomes.

Dr Rajiv Sharma

MBBS MD FRACP

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Dr Sharma completed his basic physician training in St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. Subsequently he trained in Respiratory Medicine at The Canberra Hospital and Sleep Medicine at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Prior to relocating to Melbourne, he worked as a full time Respiratory & Sleep Medicine staff specialist at Townsville Hospital. Rajiv enjoys managing all aspects of Respiratory and Sleep disorders including Asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, chronic cough, lung nodules, sleep apnoea, hypersomnolence, restless legs syndrome and other non-respiratory sleep disorders.

He also has a special interest in interventional pulmonology (bronchoscopic techniques). Dr Sharma also has keen interest and experience in medical education and research and has been involved in these areas for a number of years.

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