Summer is less than one month away and the dry and warm weather means there is an increased risk of bush fires. It’s important for people living with a lung condition to look after themselves and be aware of extra pollutants in the air when smoke descends in their town or city following bush fires or hazard reduction burning.
Bush fires are a threat in Australia all year round and controlled burning may be necessary in preparation for bush fire season. Therefore it is important to remain aware of and be vigilant about the risks to your health, and what you can do to protect yourself.
If you have poor lung health it is recommended that you try to minimise your exposure to wood fire smoke and pollutants as they can penetrate deep into your lungs and irritate the airways. If you have an existing lung disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma this may cause symptoms including wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing to worsen.
If you’re in an area affected by wood smoke, where possible you should:
- Avoid physical activity outdoors while smoke is in the area
- Rest more frequently and keep away from the smoke
- Follow your action plan and treatment advised by your doctor and keep your medicines close at hand
- Close windows and doors to minimise smoke in your home
- Switch your air conditioner (if you have one) to recycle or recirculate
- Have your emergency plan ready in the event of an evacuation or the loss of essential services (such as power loss) during bush fires.
For more information:
Report all fires to triple zero – 000
For general health advice, call Healthdirect Australia
– 1800 022 222