NSW Health is urging people, especially those with respiratory conditions like asthma, to limit their time spent outside this weekend.
Poor air quality has been forecast for the Sydney basin for Saturday and likely to continue to be poor through to Sunday morning due to hazard reduction burns.
NSW Medical Advisor for Environmental Health, Dr Aditya Vyas, said air quality in the Sydney basin is predicted to be poor due to smoke from controlled burns on Ironbark Ridge north of Richmond and south of Sydney in the Holsworthy area due to a back burning operation to contain a fire in this area.
“People with asthma and other lung conditions should not engage in vigorous exercise and, if possible, stay in air-conditioned premises where filtration systems can help to reduce smoke particles in the air,” Dr Vyas said.
“Smoke may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause irritated eyes, coughing and wheezing.
“Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled, so people with chronic respiratory conditions need to be vigilant with their treatment programs.
“People with asthma or a lung condition who develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan.
“If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice. If you are on home oxygen treatment, continue as prescribed and if breathlessness worsens, contact your doctor.
“Healthy adults may also feel the effects of fine particles the can irritate the lungs, so it’s wise to reschedule or cut back on prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities when smoke levels are high.
Fine smoke particles are known to affect the human breathing system. The smaller or finer the particles, the deeper they go into the lungs.
These particles can cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.
Smoke particles can also aggravate existing lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.