03 November 2013
With bushfires continuing across the State and hot windy conditions forecasted for today, NSW Health is urging people to take caution in the face of worsening air quality.
 
The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) air quality measurements show that there is an increase in particulate air pollution from the Illawarra area to Newcastle including Sydney, with many areas experiencing poor, very poor or even hazardous air quality. This increase is from bushfires in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury regions. . 
 
Dr Richard Broome, Deputy Director Environmental Health Branch, NSW Health, warned that those with lung disease and heart disease should closely monitor their symptoms. 
 
“Bushfires can result in a large amount of smoke particles in the air, even great distances from the fires.” Dr Broome said. 
 
“Smoke levels are likely to be higher outdoors than indoors, so sensitive people to should limit the time they spend outside.”
 
Smoke particles can cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation or runny nose and aggravate existing illnesses including bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
 
NSW Health reminds people that children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to the effects of air pollution.
 
“The best way to avoid breathing in the smoke is to remain inside with the windows and doors closed, preferably in an air-conditioned building.”
  
Asthma sufferers need to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take their relieving medication where necessary. If symptoms get worse, asthma sufferers need to seek medical advice. 
 
“Fine particles can also irritate the lungs of healthy adults, so it is best to avoid any prolonged outdoor exercise,” Dr Broome said.
 
Further information on maintaining health during bushfires can be found at 
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/emergency_preparedness/weather/Pages/Bushfire.aspx
 
Further information on bushfire smoke and health can be found at
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx
 
For local air quality forecasts and hourly air quality updates, visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/index.htm
 
For more information about air pollution and health, visit the NSW Health website: 
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/default.aspx

Bushfire Air Pollution Health Update
File Link: Bushfire.aspx
File Size: 23.8 kb
Type: NSW Health
Date of Release: 03 November 2013