Bushfires create an enormous amount of smoke which can damage people’s health

November 11, 2019

The smoke from so many bushfires in southern Queensland has prompted an alert from Queensland Health.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the recent fires had led to very poor air quality in some areas.

Queensland Health recommends that people living in affected communities take the following actions:

  • Remain indoors and close all windows and doors and operate air-conditioners if available.
  • Switch air-conditioners 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.
  • People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions should rest as much as possible and keep away from the smoke.
  • People with asthma should follow their personal asthma plan.
  • 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.
  • Avoid physical activity outdoors; this includes outdoor workplace activities (exertion allows more fine particles to be breathed deeper into the lungs).
  • Schools and childcare centres should stop outdoor activities and children should stay indoors in areas with air-conditioning and/or ceiling fans.
  • It is recommended that organisers of outdoor events should consider postponing the event until the air quality improves.
  • Assist your vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends. It is important to identify locations that have cleaner, filtered air-conditioned spaces (eg. shopping centres, community centres, libraries etc).
  • If there is a break in smoky conditions, take the opportunity to air out your home to improve indoor air quality.
  • When indoors, minimise other sources of air pollution, such as cigarette smoke, burning candles, using unflued gas appliances including gas stoves, or stirring up fine dust from sweeping or vacuuming.
  • It is important to also stay hydrated by drinking water.

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