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July thunderstorms 'caused' spike in A&E attendance

Tracking violent thunderstorms can help predict spikes in accident and emergency attendance for asthma, according to a study led by Public Health England.

Researchers looked at data on patient attendance from 35 A&E departments.

They identified a “significant spike” in asthma attendances in two departments in London on 23 July 2013, which coincided with a series of large violent thunderstorms across southern England.

There was also an increase in the reported severity of these attendances.

Writing online in the Emergency Medicine Journal, the study authors said: “This study illustrates the potential of using emergency department attendance data, routinely accessed as part of a national syndromic surveillance system, to monitor the impact of thunderstorm asthma.”

Systematic monitoring of such data could potentially improve A&E resource planning, they added.

 

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