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Caution against bushfire smoke advised

13 November 2019

Photo Credit: Queensland Health

With smoke from bushfires affecting some communities within Darling Downs Health, residents have been urged to take precautions and minimise exposure to smoke.

“Increased amounts of smoke and particulates from ash in the air due to bushfires can pose risks for some members of the community,” said Darling Downs Public Health Unit director Dr Penny Hutchinson.

“The groups most at risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with existing medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease and other lung or respiratory illnesses.”

Dr Hutchinson said anyone taking medications for these conditions should keep them close by and be vigilant in taking their medications.

“If people with asthma experience symptoms due to exposure to smoke we recommend following their asthma management plan, but if they do so and they still experience symptoms they should seek medical advice immediately,” she said.

“Anyone experiencing breathing difficulty should call triple-zero and seek urgent medical assistance.”

Dr Hutchinson said the most effective way to avoid exposure to smoke was to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.
“If air conditioning is available it’s advisable to have it on a recycle or recirculating setting,” Dr Hutchinson said.

“This may not be possible, particularly for people without air conditioning during hot conditions, so in this case another option is to seek an alternative air-conditioned location for the day, such as a local library or shopping centre.”

Anyone with concerns can call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for health advice and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Last updated: 13 November 2019