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Bushfire smoke and sunset

Smoke haze sparks health warning

21 May 2019


With smoke from hazard reduction burns blanketing the region people are reminded to take action to reduce their exposure and be aware of health risks associated with poor air quality.

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Director of Public Health, Associate Professor Bradley Forssman, says some people in the community can be particularly susceptible to bushfire smoke and other air pollution.

“Young children, the elderly and people who have heart or lung disease, including asthma, can be affected by air pollution.

“Common symptoms are a cough, sore eyes, and shortness of breath, which can last for several days after exposure to the smoke,” says Associate Professor Forssman.

“If you have asthma or other lung problems, please make sure you have your reliever inhaler with you and follow your asthma or COPD Action Plan. If your symptoms don’t settle please go to your GP or the local emergency department.”

Associate Professor Forssman has suggested the following tips to avoid health risks associated with high levels of smoke in the air:

  • Close up your house and stay indoors
  • Avoid vigorous exercise when air pollution levels are high
  • If possible, stay in an air-conditioned building where filtration systems can help reduce dust particles in the air
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask designed to filter fine particles
  • Seek medical attention if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain that doesn’t respond to rest or your usual treatment.

More information about air pollution and health.