Council reminder about how to manage risks from poor air quality

Smoky and dusty skies are drifting in and out of the Hawkesbury with low quality air warnings across Greater Sydney as severe bushfires continue in New South Wales.

NSW Health is reminding people with heart and respiratory conditions, angina and asthma to stay inside, carry your medication with you, and avoid exercise on poor air quality days - even if it means changing outdoor sport routines to protect your health.

A smoke haze engulfs North Richmond. Picture: Krystyna Pollard

A smoke haze engulfs North Richmond. Picture: Krystyna Pollard

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Barry Calvert is concerned about people protecting their health during these conditions.

"It's best to have a plan for what you will do when the air quality deteriorates," Mayor Calvert said.

"Everyone can be affected by air pollution when exposed over prolonged periods of time, such as mild symptoms like sore eyes, nose and throat, although some groups are more susceptible than others.

"Keep your windows closed. Even domestic animals will fare better if they can be kept indoors.

"Smoke and dust contain fine particles that can cause breathing problems for vulnerable groups such as those with asthma, emphysema and angina," he said.

"For asthmatics, please go over your asthma plan. If you are a parent, check it with your child and discuss asthma, 'out and about' scenarios, role play; especially about asking for help.

"Shy children can carry an asthma communication card to have in their pocket," Mayor Calvert said.

"Contact your school to remind them of their asthma condition and to follow the asthma plan.

"Just don't be complacent, especially with teenagers, who are sometimes expected to be old enough to remember for themselves. Asthma can quickly flare up and become life threatening.

"The best way to reduce exposure to smoke is to stay indoors with the doors and windows closed, and air conditioning can also help to filter particles that are indoors," the Mayor said.

"Don't dismiss the warning signs of breathlessness, wheezing and tightness of chest because they can escalate very quickly. If you're feeling unwell, don't delay, seek medical assistance."

Hawkesbury City Council also has two Libraries, one at Windsor and another in Richmond, that offer community members an indoor, air conditioned place to go during opening hours. Visit www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/library for details or call 4560 4460.

Extreme weather conditions such as smoke from bushfires correlates with an increase in people presenting at hospitals for asthma attacks and severe respiratory problems.

Tips to manage the effects of smoke

  • Monitor Fires Near Me for information about fires in your area www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me
  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke from entering your home while keeping aware of fire danger in your area.
  • Ensure pets have a protected area.
  • If you're driving through a smoky area, slow down, keep your windows up and turn your headlights on.
  • Don't call Triple Zero just to report that it's smoky. Save Triple Zero for emergencies.