GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People with asthma are being warned to stay indoors after a storm due to a phenomenon dubbed “thunder fever.”

The buzz online claims storms combined with high pollen count can trigger deadly asthma attacks.

After a stormy week of weather and the pollen count on the rise in West Michigan, 24 Hour News 8 spoke to a local allergist.

“There have been reports of severe thunderstorms leading to asthma deaths in parts of the world. It’s unfortunate but can sometimes happen,” Dr. Ted Kelbel at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital said.

Kelbel said thunder fever is real and can be deadly. It occurs when there are changes in the weather, causing large amounts of pollen to come out of the upper atmosphere down to ground level.

If some suffers from allergy induced asthma, Kelbel said they could be at a higher risk for an attack.

“What happens in these thunder fever cases, you can get really sick really quickly. You need to be on top of it and have your medicine around and take it,” Kelbel said. “Also the winds stir up the pollen that’s on the ground as well. You’re getting hit in multiple levels to make your asthma and allergies much worse.”

Kelbel provided the following suggestions for asthma suffers:

  • Sleep with the windows closed during pollen season;
  • Try to stay inside if you notice a high pollen count;
  • Take your allergy medication;
  • And if asthma attack gets bad, seek medical attention.