Hunter New England Health (HNEH) recommendations for air quality health during bushfires

Hunter New England Health urges people with respiratory conditions to take extra care as bushfires affect the Hunter New England and Mid North Coast regions.

Older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to the effects of excessive smoke, HNEH public health physician Dr David Durrheim said, but everyone should take precautions.

"Staying indoors is the best way to avoid irritations to the eyes, nose and throat, and to avoid aggravating existing lung and heart conditions," Dr Durrheim said.

He said the following tips will help residents stay healthy during the smoky conditions:

  • People with asthma, heart disease and other lung and heart conditions should avoid vigorous outdoor physical activity when smoke is around.
  • Staying indoors with the doors and windows shut is an effective way to reduce exposure to smoke.
  • People with asthma or a lung condition should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan and carry their relieving medication with them. If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice.
  • In case of emergency always dial Triple Zero.

If smoky conditions are prolonged for several days or more:

  • Keep doors and windows of your home closed while smoke is about, and take advantage of any breaks in the smoky conditions to air out your home.
  • If possible, spend some time in air-conditioning with the air-conditioner set to recirculate indoor air.
  • Consider postponing outdoor events, especially sporting and other physically active events.
  • Avoid indoor sources of air pollution such as candles, incense, and wood burning heaters.

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