Smoke and ash from ongoing bush fires across several states in Australia has reduced air quality and caused breathing difficulties and health concerns for many Australians living in metro, suburban, regional and rural areas. Bush fire smoke can travel hundreds of kilometres and poses a range of health issues including lung and heart conditions. Reduce your chances of being affected by smoke and ash with these tips:
Reduce your chances of being affected
• If you are exposed to bush fire smoke, avoid any outdoor physical activity as fine particles of ash and smoke could be breathed deeper into the lungs.
• If you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition, follow the treatment plan that your doctor advises and have at least five days’ supply of medication on hand.
• If there is smoke in the air, close all windows and doors and use the air conditioner on recirculate or recycle to reduce the amount of smoke filtering into your home.
• Ensure you stay cool and drink plenty of fluids and be mindful of heat stress especially in children and the elderly.
• During a break in the smoky conditions, open up the windows and doors in your home to let fresh air flow in and improve the air quality inside.
• Spend time in other filtered air-conditioned spaces like libraries and museums or shopping centres nearby to give your body a break from the smoky conditions.
• Consider visiting friends or family in other states or nearby regions that aren’t as affected by the bush fires.
• Use a face mask. Paper or cloth masks are ineffective while P2 masks filter bushfire smoke and provide better protection against breathing in fine particles. They are available at most hardware stores.
• If you have trouble breathing, it’s vital you seek immediate medical attention.
Stay safe Australia!
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