October 23, 2013

Breathe safely during the bush fire season

Lung Foundation Australia is warning people to look after themselves and be aware of the extra pollutants in the air caused by fires in New South Wales, especially if they have existing lung conditions.

People who have poor lung health should try to minimise their exposure to smoke from the fires, make sure their action plans were up-to-date and ensure any medicines are current.

Smoke and pollutants in the air can penetrate deeply into the lungs and irritate the airways causing symptoms in people with existing problems such as COPD and asthma to worsen, including wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.

Children, the elderly, smokers and people with pre-existing illnesses such as heart or lung conditions (including asthma) are more sensitive to the breathing in of fine particles from smoke.

Where possible, people with poor lung health in the areas affected by the bush fires should:

  • Avoid physical activity outdoors while smoke is in the area
  • Rest more frequently and keep away from the smoke where possible
  • Follow their action plans and treatment advised by their doctor and keep their medicines close to hand.
  • Have their emergency plan ready in the event of an evacuation or the loss of essential services (such as power loss)
  • Close windows and doors to minimize smoke in their home
  • Switch their air conditioner (if they have one) to recycle or recirculate

Key contact numbers for more information

Report all fires to Triple Zero – 000

NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line – 1800 679 737 

For general health advice, call healthdirect Australia – 1800 022 222

Lung Foundation Australia – 1800 654 301