Indoor & Outdoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

We tend to spend a lot of time in our homes.  It’s important to try to maintain a healthy indoor environment, when possible, especially if you suffer from allergies or a lung disease. 

A healthy indoor environment may help reduce exposure to allergens and irritants and potentially reduce the risk of irritating sensitive airways. Download our fact sheet to understand more about how you can better control your indoor air quality to achieve the best possible environment for you and your loved ones.

Outdoor Air Quality

Modern industrial society produces a large number of gases and particles which can pollute outdoor air. The fact is, air pollution can occur anywhere.

The most common sources of outdoor air pollution include motor vehicles, fires and industrial facilities. Become more informed on outdoor air quality and how you can best protect yourself by downloading our factsheet.

 

Wood fire smoke

Bush fires remain a threat in Australia all year round and controlled burning may be necessary in preparation for bush fire season, so it’s 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 minimise 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, smokers and people with pre-existing illnesses such as heart or lung conditions (including asthma) are more sensitive to breathing in fine particles from smoke.

Those with chronic lung disease, such as COPD, bronchiectasis and asthma, are also particularly sensitive to changes in air quality. 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 minimize 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.

Wood-burning heaters

Wood-burning heaters are often admired for the ambience they add. However, smoke from woodheaters can be a major source of air pollution in many parts of Australia, and is a real and significant health hazard. Lung Foundation Australia is currently in the process of updating our Wood-smoke factsheet to help people become more informed about outdoor air quality and how you can best protect yourself.  Watch this space.