10 April 2018

NSW Health is urging people, especially those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, to limit their time spent outside while a hazard reduction is underway north of Sydney.

The burn at Coba Creek is predicted to cause poor air quality across the Sydney basin for the next two days starting tomorrow (Wednesday, 11 April) from the 800-hectare burn in the Hornsby Local Government Area.

Director of Environmental Health Dr Ben Scalley said 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.

“Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled, so people with the chronic respiratory conditions need to be vigilant with their treatment programs,” Dr Scalley said.

“If you have asthma or a lung condition and you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, follow your 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 that can irritate the lungs, so it’s wise to reschedule or cut back on prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities when smoke levels are high. Healthy adults generally find that symptoms will clear after the smoke disappears.”

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.

The smoke particles can also aggravate existing lung conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

In case of emergency always remember to dial triple zero. For more information, visit Bushfires and bushfire smoke.