10 May 2018

NSW Health is urging people, especially those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, to limit their time spent outside while hazard reduction fires are conducted today around Sydney.

Air quality in the Sydney basin is predicted to be poor for the rest of today due to smoke from controlled burns in the Blue Mountains.

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.

“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.

“Smoke may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause irritated eyes.

“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.

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.​