22.06.2021 | Tracker

UK HCPs rally behind their peers and others warn of ‘thunderstorm asthma’

By Mark Sullivan

Each month, CREATION.co’s respiratory tracking update brings you the latest insights into the online UK healthcare professional (HCP) conversation regarding respiratory disease. You can find the most up to date insights, and the archive, on our Respiratory Tracker landing page.

This month between May and June, 2021, the activity of UK HCPs discussing respiratory disease online was relatively quiet when compared to previous months, only surpassing the previous average daily level of conversation a handful of times. As has been the trend this year, non COVID-19 conversation dominated the respiratory online space, with the volume of COVID-19 conversation exceeding the volume of non COVID-19 conversation on only one day in the past month – 27 May.


The driver behind the increase in COVID-19 conversation on 27 May was from UK HCPs reacting to the controversial news that consultant Respiratory Physician Matthew Knight MBE, had been banned from Twitter for a week for stating that COVID-19 is airborne and there needs to be a greater investment in ventilation systems. HCPs were quick to support Dr Knight in his assessment of the virus’ transmission and management, and also questioned Twitter’s censorship policy.

The post with the largest response on the topic was from Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford Trisha Greenhalgh, who received over 50 retweets from UK HCPs for the above post. Since serving his ban on Twitter, Dr Knight has reaffirmed his stance on the subject and thanked people for the support he received.


June 17 had the highest number of respiratory disease mentions online since February 18 (excluding May 05 which happened to be World Asthma Day). The biggest driver behind this surge in mentions was from allergist Dr Sophie Farooque who raised awareness of the potential onset of ‘thunderstorm asthma’ for people in the UK and gave information on how to prevent as well as treat the phenomenon.

Emergency medicine consultant and GP Linda Dykes also helped raise awareness that thunderstorms can be problematic for those with asthma and hay fever due to higher levels of pollen and pollution particles being drawn up into the air and turned into smaller particles. These particles can be inhaled into the lungs causing irritation and potentially triggering asthma attacks.

Each month, we track the HCP conversation relating to respiratory disease. You can keep up to date with this and other pharmaceutical tracking updates, including COVID-19 developments, within the Tracking section of CREATION Knowledge, or sign up to receive our monthly eJournal with all of our latest HCP insights.

If you would like to dig deeper into what we have seen this month then please do get in touch.


  • This article analysed the Twitter conversations of HCPs in the UK discussing respiratory disease and related terms between 21 May and 20 June 2021 using CREATION Pinpoint®.
  • Between 21 May and 20 June 2021, there were 3,256 UK HCP mentions of respiratory disease and related terms, from 1,524 unique UK HCP authors.

View the latest respiratory tracker and archived trackers

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Meet the Author

Mark Sullivan

Mark uses his passion for data analysis to find actionable insights to inform pharma teams' strategic decisions.

Mark is an avid sports fan whether watching or playing. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and watching films.

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