Bushfire smoke raises health concerns

Smokefrom local bushfires can be seen across South Australia today and may pose ahealth risk to people, particularly those with lung or heart conditions.

TheDepartment for Health and Wellbeing’s Acting Chief Public Health Officer, DrChris Lease, said the combined effects of recent hot weather and poor airquality from bushfires means vulnerable people should take extra precautions.

“Hot weather and poor air quality are a dangerous combination and we are urgingpeople to stay indoors, stay hydrated and reduce their exposure to smoky air,”Dr Lease said.

“Smoke particles can aggravate existing health problems such as chronicbronchitis, emphysema, asthma and heart conditions.

“Peoplewith these conditions are most at risk, and should stay indoors as much aspossible until the smoke clears and make sure they follow their personalmanagement plans.

“It’s a good idea to stay in touch with elderly neighbours and friends who maybe more vulnerable, and keep in mind that pregnant women and young children maybe more sensitive to smoke too.”

Peoplewith asthma should follow their asthma action plans and carry their reliever medicationat all times.

If you are running an air-conditioner in your home or car, switch the air flowto recycle or recirculate to reduce the smoke coming inside.

It is recommended to avoid vigorous activities, especially if you have asthmaor other chronic lung or heart conditions.

Symptoms of smoke inhalation may include difficulty breathing, coughing, chesttightness, heart palpitations, fatigue, itchy or burning eyes, throatirritation, a runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

The symptoms of smoke inhalation can occur several days after exposure so it isimportant to be vigilant and continue previously prescribed treatment.

Anyone requiring urgent medical attention should call Triple Zero (000).

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