Oct 08

NSW Health is urging people to be aware of the health risks of dust storms as a large dust storm is forecast to move across NSW, potentially affecting the Central West and North West regions.

Winds are forecast to carry dust from western NSW across the state today, bringing high dust levels. Air quality in the Western NSW Local Health District could be poor for Dubbo, Parkes and surrounding areas.

WNSWLHD Public Health Manager, Priscilla Stanley said, “It was especially important for children, older persons, and people with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease to limit their time outside and not engage in vigorous exercise during a dust storm.”

“If possible, stay in air-conditioned premises where filtration systems can help to reduce dust particles in the air,” Priscilla said.

“Dust may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause symptoms like eye irritation and cough.

“Symptoms can occur for several days after dust is inhaled, so people with the chronic conditions need to be vigilant with their treatment programs.

“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.

“If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice. 

“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 dust levels are high.

These particles can cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

In case of emergency always remember to dial triple zero. For more information, visit the NSW Health air quality web page at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/dust-storms.aspx​