With smoke from the bushfires hanging over Sydney, NSW Health has issued an air pollution health warning, advising people to stay indoors if necessary.
Air quality measurements by the Office of Environment and Heritage show an increase in particulate air pollution in NSW, putting people suffering from asthma and chronic respiratory and heart disease at increased risk.
A NSW Ambulance Service spokeswoman said 130 people were treated for breathing difficulties on Thursday, with another 60 on Friday – an increase on the usual numbers. She said a high pollen count expected on Sunday was likely to exacerbate the problem. Richard Broome, the deputy director of the environmental health branch, NSW Health, warned those with lung and heart disease to monitor their symptoms closely.
”There is slightly more risk to people from air pollution and especially those people who might be more susceptible, people with asthma or chronic respiratory and heart disease,” he said.
”We’re advising people that if you do have a chronic illness such as asthma or chronic heart disease or emphysema, make sure you’re taking your medication. If you have an asthma action plan, follow it, and minimise outdoor physical activity as much as possible.”
Smoke from bushfires contains small particles which can cause a range of health problems, including itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis. The smoke particles can also aggravate existing lung conditions.
”The best way of avoiding exposure to the smoke is to stay indoors with your windows and doors shut, ideally with your air conditioning on,” Dr Broome said.
Temperatures are forecast to rise in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and central coast at the weekend. Springwood is expected to reach a top of 33 degrees on Sunday and 35 on Monday. Sydney should expect a high of 29 on Sunday and 33 on Monday.