NSW Health Director of
Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome said the fire emergency engulfing many
parts of the State means the smoke that has affected so many communities shows
no sign of lifting in the near future.
Presentations to emergency
departments and/or calls for NSW Ambulance assistance for asthma or breathing
problems continue to be higher than normal for a third straight week across
Over the last week, there have
been around 1,140 presentations, about 25 per cent more than the usual weekly
average of around 900. The largest increases have been in South Western Sydney
Local Health District, which serves the region particularly affected by smoke
over the last week.
NSW Ambulance has fielded around
2,330 calls in the same period, around 30 per cent more than the average for
the week of 1,780.
“These numbers show the smoke continues
to have an impact on people’s health and reinforces the need for people to take
steps to reduce their exposure,” Dr Broome said.
For most people, smoke causes
mild symptoms like sore eyes, nose and throat. However, people with conditions
like asthma, emphysema and angina are at greater risk because the smoke can
trigger their symptoms.
“NSW Health continues to recommend
that people with these conditions should avoid outdoor physical activity when
there’s smoke around,” Dr Broome said.
Dr Broome said, with more and
more people starting to wear a variety of face-masks, it is important to
consider the evidence.
“The main concern with smoke is
the very fine PM2.5 particles, which are so small they pass through most types
of mask. A P2 mask does filter out these particles, but is only effective if
there is a good fit and an air-tight seal around the mouth and nose. Evidence
shows that this is difficult to achieve in practice, so they may not provide
the benefit people are hoping for.”
In case of emergency always
remember to dial Triple Zero. More information is available online at: