Health Warning: Bushfire Smoke

News | Health Warning: Bushfire Smoke

Posted 4 December 2019 by Catholic Education in News

A reminder for people to be vigilant about their health and take precautions as the air quality across NSW may be affected by the extensive smoke from ongoing bushfires.

NSW Health Director of Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome, has reminded people to take steps to minimise any potential exposure, as smoke can irritate the respiratory system and aggravate existing lung and heart conditions.

“Smoke contains fine particles that can affect people’s health,” Dr Broome said.

“For most people, smoke causes mild symptoms like sore eyes, nose and throat. However, people with existing lung and heart conditions like asthma, emphysema and angina are more likely to be sensitive to the effects of smoke.

“People with these conditions should avoid outdoor physical activity when there’s smoke around. People with asthma should also follow their Asthma Action Plan and have their relieving medication with them.

“The best way to reduce exposure to smoke is to stay indoors with the doors and windows shut. Air conditioning can also help to filter particles from indoor air.” 

For those in areas affected by bushfire smoke, but not under direct threat from the fires, experts recommend the following precautions to reduce the health effects:

  • Stay indoors

  • Set air conditioning on recycle

  • Consider a portable air filter

  • Avoid physical activity outside

  • Keep medication on hand, follow treatment plan

  • Wear a mask

This ABC article provides more information on managing bushfire smoke haze health risks and the things you can do to reduce your chances of being affected.

More information:

Up-to-date information on air quality is available on the NSW Air Quality Website:

For more information, visit the NSW Health air quality web page at: 

In case of emergency, always remember to dial Triple Zero.


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