Many areas around Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst are currently experiencing smoky air conditions as a result of bushfire smoke, and Western NSW Local Health District is urging people to take precautions against the effects of air pollution.
According to Ingo Steppat, Population Health Senior Environmental Health Officer, children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to these effects.
‘’Smoke particles can cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation or a runny nose, as well as aggravating existing illnesses including bronchitis, emphysema and asthma,” Mr Steppat said.
“There are however simple steps people can take to protect themselves and their families at this time, including remaining inside with the windows and doors closed, preferably in air-conditioning where possible”.
Asthma sufferers are advised to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take their relieving medication where necessary. If symptoms worsen, asthma sufferers need to seek medical advice.
“Anyone using regular medication should plan ahead and ensure they have plenty of medication or their prescription with them,” said Mr Steppat.
“We also suggest people avoid any prolonged outdoor exercise until the air clears”.
Further information on maintaining health during bushfires can be found at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx
People can have air quality alerts sent to them via SMS or email by visiting the Office of Environment and Heritage website and subscribing to Air Quality Index daily forecasts.
For local air quality forecast and hourly air quality updates, visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/index.htm
For more information about air pollution and health, visit the NSW Health website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/default.aspx