Bushfire smoke can travel hundreds of kilometres and it poses a range of health issues Everyone, especially those with existing heart or lung conditions including cancer patients, the elderly, pregnant women and young children should minimise time spent in smoky conditions where practical.
For instance, people with asthma may experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing while the smoke is around and for some days after. Symptoms of smoke exposure can also include eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, sneezing and congestion.
When it’s smoky outside remember to:
- keep your windows and doors shut
- switch your air conditioner to ‘recirculate’
- take a break from the smoky conditions – for example, visit a friend or go to a large air-conditioned location
- air out your house when the smoke clears
- avoid physical activity outside when you can see smoke in the air.
- keep medication on hand and follow a treatment plan People with asthma — and other health conditions — need to make sure they have any medication they need on hand at all times.
- wear a P1 or P2 mask (available at hardware stores) properly fitted over your mouth and nose will filter fine particles and minimise the effects of bushfire smoke but are not failsafe.
- look out for children, older people, and others at risk
- keep pets inside with clean water and food. Keep pets’ bedding inside if possible.
If your symptoms get worse, seek medical advice from your medical team or calling NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 606 024 if you’re worried about your symptoms. Call 000 if you experience chest tightness or difficulty breathing.
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