January 19, 2016

Tassie residents to put their lungs first during the bush fires

Lung Foundation Australia is warning residents of the West Coast of Tasmania to look after themselves and be aware of the extra pollutants in the air caused by bushfires, especially if they have an existing lung condition.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said people who had severe lung disease should minimise their exposure to smoke from the fires.

“Action plans guide patients and carers in recognising when their symptoms change and what action they should take,” she said.

Mrs Allan also encouraged everyone to make sure they have an action plan and that it was up-to-date and ensure any medicines were current.

“Smoke and pollutants in the air can penetrate deeply into the lungs and irritate the airways causing symptoms to worsen in people with existing problems such as asthma and COPD (chronic bronchitis/emphysema), including wheezing, chest tightness, cough and difficulty breathing,” she said.

“Children, the elderly and those with severe lung and heart disease are more sensitive to breathing in fine particles from smoke.”

Where possible, people with severe lung disease who live in the areas affected by bush fires should:

  • Stay indoors unless there is a need to go out
  • Close windows and doors to minimize smoke in the home
  • Avoid exercising outdoors while smoke is in the area
  • If travelling in a car, close windows and switch the air conditioner to recirculate mode
  • Those who are prescribed lung medication should ensure ample supply and regular usage
  • Those who experience more symptoms should follow their action plan or see their doctor
  • Have an emergency plan ready in the event of an evacuation or the loss of essential services (such as power loss)

 

Key contact numbers for more information

Report all fires to Triple Zero – 000

For general health advice see your doctor or call Healthdirect Australia – 1800 022 222

Lung Foundation Australia – 1800 654 301 or www.lungfoundation.com.au