Beware of bushfire smoke

WITH many Tweed suburbs shrouded in bushfire smoke, the North Coast Area Health Service is warning people to be cautious.

NCAHS assistant director of public health Greg Bell said people with pre-existing respiratory and cardio conditions are especially at risk from smoke inhalation.

“Bushfire smoke is always best to avoid,” Mr Bell said.

“People that are completely healthy may experience itchy, burning eyes, sore throat and runny nose.

“For people with existing respiratory problems it exacerbates it more and affects the effectiveness of their breathing. It can affect people with cardio conditions also.”

Mr Bell said these people need to make sure they’re prepared, such as by having asthma puffers on hand.

“If they develop very short breath, coughing and wheezing, above what their medication can still control, they should contact their doctor or go to the nearest hospital.

“It’s a good idea for everyone to stay indoors, keep the windows closed and use air-conditioning.”

Mr Bell said people need to take bushfire smoke seriously.

“Sometimes it might be best to go to a shopping centre or friend’s house for the day,” he said.

“Avoid rigorous exercise and if people need to be out they can use P1 and P2 masks to reduce inhalation.”

A fact sheet is available at www.health.nsw.gov.au

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