Bush Fires and Smoke Impacting Those with Respiratory Problems

Smoke and poor air quality can be seen – visibility in Nelson Bay this week saw Tea Gardens and Jimmys Beach obscured by the polluted haze in the air.


BUSHFIRES have been raging and there is dust in the air coming from the drought stricken country areas of the state.

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With this air pollution comes multiple issues.

Some people are at greater risk due to poor air quality.

A Hunter New England Health spokesperson told News Of The Area, “Smoke can impact the respiratory system and cause a number of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

“Smoke particles can also aggravate existing lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.”

For some, smoke in the air can bring on symptoms which can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled.

this means that those at risk need to be vigilant with their treatment programs.

If you or your child has asthma now is a good time to check on your asthma management plan and make sure that you know what you need to do when the air quality is poor.

Hunter New England Health advises,If you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, follow your asthma or COPD action plan and if symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice.

Healthy adults generally find that any symptoms they have developed during a bushfire event clear after the smoke disappears.

However with more fires on the horizon you can undertake the following precautions which can help you minimise adverse effects of bushfire smoke.

“Stay indoors, with windows and doors closed, or stay in air-conditioned premises, if possible.

“Avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have asthma or a lung condition.

“Cover your nose and mouth with a mask designed to filter fine particles,” the spokesperson said.

The advise is that It is best to correctly wear and use a mask rated either P1 or P2 which are available from hardware stores.

Dennis Peters, Captain of Fire & Rescue NSW Raymond Terrace told News Of The Area, ““A north-easterly wind brought smoke down the coast from fires occurring at Forster and in the Port Macquarie area.

“Occasionally when this happens the smoke can get trapped and remain in the air for an extended period of time.

“It’s a good reminder that people elsewhere are dealing with bushfire emergencies, and that now is a great time to put together your bushfire survival plan.

“We still encourage people to contact 000 if they believe they can see or smell smoke that is more local, and a fire truck will be sent to investigate,” he said.

In countries such as Vietnam and. Malaysia smoke haze and pollution is something which people deal with year round.

For us, it is something that we need to understand and be ready for when the bushfires revenge our region.



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