NSW Health is urging people, especially those with heart and lung conditions such as angina and asthma, to limit their time spent outside during dust storms.
Western NSW LHD Health Promotion Manager Priscilla Stanley said people with heart and lung conditions should not engage in vigorous exercise and, if possible, stay in air-conditioned premises where filtration systems can help to reduce dust particles in the air.
“Dust storms carry very fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and cause respiratory and heart problems. Symptoms can occur for several days after dust is inhaled, so people with the chronic heart respiratory conditions need to be vigilant with their treatment programs,” Prisiclla said.
“People with asthma or a lung condition who develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan.
“Dust particles may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause irritated eyes.
“If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice. If you are on home oxygen treatment, continue as prescribed and if breathlessness worsens, contact your doctor.
“Healthy adults may also feel the effects of fine particles that can irritate the lungs, so it’s wise to reschedule or cut back on prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities when smoke levels are high.
Fine dust particles are known to affect the human breathing system. The smaller or finer the particles, the deeper they go into the lungs.
These particles can cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.
The dust particles can also aggravate existing lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
In case of emergency always remember to dial triple zero. For more information, visit the NSW Health air quality web page at: