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Bushfire smoke warning: health advice

Current bushfire conditions have resulted in very poor air quality in Brisbane, Ipswich and Gold Coast areas. Queensland Health recommends that these communities take the following actions.

Protecting your health

The community is advised to remain alert to the levels of smoke from current bushfire conditions.

  • Considerations for the community include:
    • Avoiding outdoor activity if possible. If you must go outside, spend as little time outside as possible. If you are staying indoors, close all windows and doors and operate air-conditioners if available.
    • Avoiding vigorous exercise outside, especially if you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or a breathing related condition, and keep medication close by.
  • It is especially important for vulnerable people to remain vigilant in the current conditions. That includes:
    • People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions should rest as much as possible and keep away from the smoke. Anyone with a heart or lung condition should follow the treatment plan advised by their doctor and keep at least five days’ supply of medication on hand.
    • People with asthma should follow their personal asthma plan.
  • Assist your vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends. It is important to identify locations that have cleaner, filtered air-conditioned spaces (e.g. shopping centres, community centres, libraries etc).
  • All air conditioners should be switched to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ mode. If you do not have an air conditioner, take steps to reduce heat stress, especially for the very young, people who are unwell, or the elderly.
  • If there is a break in smoky conditions, take the opportunity to air out your home to improve indoor air quality and minimise other sources of air pollution, such as cigarette smoke.
  • Schools and childcare centres may cease outdoor activities and children should stay indoors in areas with air-conditioning and/or ceiling fans
  • Organisers of outdoor events, if possible, should consider postponing the event until air quality improves.
  • It is important to also stay hydrated by drinking water
  • If you are experiencing any adverse reactions to the dust or smoke, such as shortness of breath, prolonged coughing or wheezing, seek medical advice.
  • Stay up to date with local news reports.  This advice may be varied as conditions change.

Bushfire smoke – what is it?

Bushfire smoke is a mixture of different-sized particles, water vapour and gases, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. During bushfires and similar events, large amounts of finer particles are released that are small enough to breathe deep into the lungs and can cause adverse health effects.

All other fire affected communities should follow Queensland Health’s general bushfire and health advice, and for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, to follow their health management plans.

Further Information
  • Contact your doctor, hospital or health clinic
  • Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) at any time
Last updated: 12 November 2019