Advice Regarding People Vulnerable to the Health Effects of Smoke

cameron@tascoss.org.au

1 March 2019 12:00 am Australia/Hobart

    Bushfire smoke will continue to affect Tasmania during February. The smoke will vary – it may be light or heavy and may last from several hours to days. Smoke may affect places that are far away from fire.

    Parts of southern Tasmania experienced extremely high and potentially harmful levels of smoke in late January, and more smoke in this region is expected through February.

    People with asthma, emphysema or similar lung conditions may experience wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing when exposed to smoke. Those aged over 65, young children aged under five, pregnant women, and people with other medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, may also be at risk.

    People in these groups should minimise their exposure while local conditions are smoky. The following steps may be helpful:

    • If you have asthma, follow your asthma action plan, and plan for managing flare-ups of other health conditions. If you don’t have a plan, see your GP to prepare one.
    • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed where possible.
    • Avoid physical activity outdoors.
    • If using an air conditioner, switch it to recycle or recirculate.
    • Consider taking time away from smoky areas if possible. This could include visiting or staying with family or friends.
    • Consider visiting a nearby air-conditioned space such as a library or shopping centre.

    Anyone having trouble breathing or experiencing chest pain should get urgent medical care.

    You can get real-time air quality information for your area on the EPA website, or by downloading the AirRater app and subscribing to alerts.

    A fact sheet providing information about smoke and health is attached and is also available at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/alerts/air/bushfire_smoke

    For EPA air quality information, visit https://epa.tas.gov.au/epa/air/monitoring-air-pollution/real-time-air-quality-data-for-tasmania

    For AirRater information, visit https://airrater.org