Indoor & Outdoor Air Quality

Wood fire smoke

Bush fires remain a threat in Australia, occurring all year round. It is important people remain aware and vigilant of the risks to their lung health, and what they can do to protect themselves. People who have poor lung health should try to minimize their exposure to wood fire smoke and pollutants. 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 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma to worsen, including wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Children, the elderly, those who smoke and people with pre-existing illnesses such as heart or lung conditions are more sensitive to breathing in fine particles from smoke.

Wood-burning heaters

Smoke from woodheaters can be a major source of air pollution in many parts of Australia and is a real and significant health hazard.

Where possible, people with poor lung health in areas affected by wood fire smoke 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
  • Close windows and doors to minimise smoke in their home
  • Switch their air conditioner (if they have one) to recycle or recirculate
  • Have their emergency plan ready in the event of an evacuation or the loss of essential services (such as power loss) during bush fires
Click on the button to view Lung Foundation Australia’s Air Quality position paper.