20 May 2016

With smoke pollution levels from hazard reduction burns still expected to affect Sydney this weekend, NSW Health is advising people to take precautions.

Hazard reduction burns will be conducted in the coming week across NSW, including locations like the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Central Coast, Hunter Valley, Wollondilly and Queanbeyan.

NSW Health’s Deputy Director of Environmental Health Dr Benjamin Scalley said burning off can result in a large amount of smoke particles in the air, even at great distances from the fires.

“We urge people with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma to be aware of the health effects of smoke exposure,” he said.

“Not everyone who is exposed to bushfire smoke will have health problems and most healthy adults who experience symptoms will recover quickly and not suffer any long-term consequences.

“However, smoke exposure can lead people with lung disease or chronic bronchitis to develop shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, many days after smoke is inhaled.

“We recommend these people closely monitor their symptoms and follow their asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) action plan, including seeking medical advice if symptoms don’t settle.

“People with chronic respiratory conditions should stay in air-conditioned premises where air filtration systems can help to reduce smoke particles in the air and they should not engage in vigorous exercise outdoors,” Dr Scalley said.

For further information on health precautions in bushfire season, visit Bushfires and bushfire smoke.