NSW is experiencing an extended period of bushfire activity. Bushfire smoke consists of particulate matter and gases and is known to cause health effects. Fine particulate matter in bushfire smoke penetrates deep into the lungs, cause an inflammatory response, an exacerbate existing chronic health conditions. The higher the exposure to air pollution the greater the health risk.

Exposure to smoke will generally result in mild symptoms like sore eyes, nose and throat and cough. However, it may exacerbate chronic lung and heart conditions causing severe illness. Heat exposure may cause heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

The following group may be at greater risk: people with lung and heart conditions, the elderly and young children.

There are ways to reduce this exposure:

-patients with pre-existing lung and heart conditions to adhere their treatment plan and seek medical attention if they experience difficulty in controlling their symptoms

-avoiding outdoor physical activity when they can see or smell smoke

-staying indoor with windows and doors closed when it is smoky

-spending time in air-conditioned public places

-taking advantage of smoke free periods to air out houses

-avoid using indoor sources of air pollution like candles and incense sticks

– a well fitted P2 face mask may reduce to fine particles

-keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water

Source: Environmental Health Branch NSW Health Government


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