We thought it important to put up an informative blog post this month as we are currently experiencing devastating bushfires here in Australia. We live in one of the world’s most bushfire prone countries and it is apparent that we will need to continue to adapt to bushfires into the future.
Whilst not all of us are directly affected by Bushfires, many people suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions that are often made worse by hazardous smoke during bushfire season, which can travel great distances from where the fires are located. The elderly and those with asthma are particularly vulnerable during this time. Carers, friends and family members looking after loved ones with asthma should be extra vigilant during bushfire season. Please check in on your loved ones and ensure they have a plan…
TIPS TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF BUSHFIRE SMOKE
UNDERSTAND WHO ARE MOST VULNERABLE…
The elderly, children and people with asthma and respiratory conditions are often the first to feel the effects of smoke and bad air quality. If you know someone who may be vulnerable during this time, please check in on them
MANAGE YOUR ASTHMA – STAY PREPARED!
If you or a loved one or friend who is particularly sensitive to smoke, it is recommended that you take preventative measures and have your medication/ prevention available during bushfire season and with planned back burns (please see links at bottom of post for local pages to check). Asthma plans and first aid plans are crucial during this time, please make sure you have discussed and/or shared your plans with your loved ones and friends so they can assist you if required.
Symptoms can flare up for days after you are exposed to smoke, so be aware of any symptoms and seek emergency help if symptoms persist. For more information, please visit https://asthma.org.au/
AVOID SMOKE EXPOSURE, WHERE POSSIBLE…
- Close your doors and windows and stay inside if the air quality isn’t good
- Use an air conditioner if possible, in recycle air mode
- Keep a supply of smoke mask (talk to your chemist or hardware store on the type you will require)
- Take advantage of any public air-conditioned spaces such as shopping centres or community centres if the smoke is too intense at home or you don’t have air conditioning
- Portable air cleaners can also be effective to provide relief from hazardous smoke inside your home. Air cleaners are different to purifiers but do use filters to filter the harm (these are available through specialised online stores or shops such as Harvey Norman)
- If driving, close all the windows and use air con on recycle
- Avoid doing any outdoor physical activity until air quality is good
- If you start to develop symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath, follow your written Asthma Action Plan or commence First Aid.
- If your medication isn’t reducing your symptoms, call the ambulance and continue with your Asthma First Aid plan until the ambulance arrives.
SMOKING AND ASTHMA
It is important to note that Cigarette smoke makes asthma symptoms worse and stops preventative medicines from working properly. It increases the likelihood of flare ups and is also dangerous for people around you. Children can be severely affected by inhaling second hand-cigarette smoke. The elderly and people with significant chronic health problems can also be quite vulnerable to second-hand cigarette smoke. This also includes e-cigarettes.
KEEP UPDATED ON FIRES IN YOUR AREA
It’s important to note that prescribed burns out of season can also cause poor air quality. For information about bushfires and planned burns in your area visit your local fire service page.