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Public health team warn Fraser Coast residents to be careful as smoke increases

The expectation of strong winds on Thursday and Friday spreading more bushfire smoke from Fraser Island through Hervey Bay and other communities has led to a warning for people along the Fraser Coast, especially those vulnerable to such conditions, to take extra precautions.

While for most healthy adults smoke causes irritation such as itchy eyes and runny noses that will clear up once the smoke has gone away, for more vulnerable people it can cause more severe health concerns.

“It’s often the microscopic fine particles in smoke, rather than the larger visible ones, that cause the more adverse health impacts,” Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Director of Public Health Dr Niall Conroy said.

“Vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, smokers and people with pre-existing illnesses, such as heart or lung conditions, are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in fine particles and their symptoms can worsen - leading to wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.

“Everyone who sees or smells smoke in their area should check for fire warnings and listen to your local radio station for updates, but more vulnerable people should also stay indoors with their closed windows and have their aircon put onto recycle or recirculate.

“People with heart, lung, other serious conditions shouldn’t engage in any vigorous activities outdoors and should follow their standard medical plans if there is bushfire smoke nearby.”

Anyone experiencing any other health effects from the current smoky conditions on the Fraser Coast should seek medical advice from their doctor. Anyone having trouble breathing or experiencing chest pain should seek urgent medical assistance by phoning 000.

For other health information call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) at any time or contact 13 QGOV (13 74 68) to speak to the nearest Public Health Unit.

For the latest information on the Fraser Island fire check the emergency news at

Last updated: 26 November 2020