NSW Health is again reminding people to be cautious about air pollution and hot weather. Recent days have seen very smoky conditions in the south of NSW and hot north westerly winds may bring more smoke into the Sydney basin on Saturday.
Director of Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome explained that temperatures will be higher and air quality worse in the regions than in the city over the weekend.
“We’re expecting another very hot day on Saturday, with temperatures forecast to be over 40 degrees in much of the state, including Western Sydney,” he said.
“At the same time, smoke is affecting communities right across NSW and it remains important for people to continue to take steps to minimise exposure.”
Residents are also reminded to always listen to the advice of the Rural Fire Service volunteers to ensure they get to a safe place and remain there.
“We know that combined effects of bushfire smoke and extreme temperatures have potential to cause severe illness.
“Minimising physical activity, staying indoors and keeping well hydrated are important ways to reduce the risk of heat and smoke-related illness.
“People with breathing conditions should avoid outdoor physical activity when there’s smoke around and people with asthma should also follow their Asthma Action Plan and carry their relieving medication with them.
“Heat puts lot of strain on the body and can cause dehydration, heat stress and heat stroke. It can also make underlying conditions worse.
“People over 75, those with chronic conditions and those who live alone are most vulnerable, so make sure you check on your elderly relatives and neighbours.”
People showing severe signs of heat-related illness should seek urgent medical attention and in an emergency situation, call Triple Zero (000).
When residents are travelling away from home, it is important that they take medications and prescriptions with them and, if needed, they call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 which is an excellent source of assistance for non-emergency advice.
It is also important that residents look after themselves, their family, neighbours and friends during the current bushfire emergency and access mental health and counselling services if they need them.
Returning to property and bushfire affected areas may be stressful and exhausting. People who are elderly or isolated and those who have a pre-existing mental illness, history of trauma or recent bereavement may be particularly vulnerable and should not hesitate to seek attention from a health provider when it is practical to do so.
To contact local mental health services, call the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511. Alternatively call Lifeline on 131114. For practical assistance call Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.
Anyone experiencing persistent mental health issues impacting their day-to-day lives is encouraged to talk to their General Practitioner or regular health care provider.
Stay up to date on bush fires in the local area by checking the NSW RFS website, listening to the local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737. For a list of evacuation centres visit Disaster Assistance.