Smoke prompts health warning

Due to bushfires in the Yorke Peninsula, smoke can be seen across South Australia today which may pose health risks to people with chest or heart conditions.

The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Chief Public Health Officer, Associate Professor Nicola Spurrier, is recommending people with pre-existing chest or heart conditions to stay indoors and follow their personal management plans.

“High levels of bushfire smoke exposure can aggravate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases,” Assoc. Prof Spurrier said.

“We also know that high levels of smoke inhalation can be associated with an increased risk of cardiac events such as heart attacks.

“We advise people with these medical concerns to avoid exposure to the smoke, stay indoors, take medication as usual and avoid exercise in areas of high dust.

“If you are inside and have air-conditioning running, switch the air flow to recycle or recirculate to reduce the smoke coming inside.

“It is also a good idea to avoid vigorous activities, especially if you have asthma or other chronic lung or heart conditions.

“Symptoms caused by smoke inhalation can occur several days after exposure so it is important to be vigilant and to continue any previously prescribed treatment.”

Symptoms of smoke exposure may include difficulty breathing and or coughing, chest tightness and or palpitations, fatigue, itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, a runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis.

People with asthma should carry their reliever medication at all times, even when they are feeling well and follow their asthma action plan at all times.

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