SA Health has issued a warning for people with pre-existing chest or heart conditions to stay indoors today as a thick blanket of smoke covers much of South Australia.
Yesterday’s bushfires on the Yorke Peninsula have left SA with high levels of smoke which can aggravate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
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“We also know high levels of smoke inhalation can be associated with an increased risk of cardiac events such as heart attacks,” the Department of Health and Wellbeing’s Chief Public Health Officer, Associate Professor Nicola Spurrier said.
“We advise people with these medical concerns to avoid exposure to the smoke, stay indoors, take medication as usual and avoid exercise in high areas of dust.
“If you are inside and have air-conditioning running, switch he air flow to recycle or recirculate to reduce the smoke coming inside.
“It is also a good idea to avoid vigorous activities, especially if you have asthma or other chronic lung or heart conditions.
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“Symptoms caused by smoke inhalation can occur several days after exposure so its important to be vigilant and to continue any previously prescribed treatment.”
Symptoms of smoke exposure may include difficulty breathing and or coughing, chest tightness and or palpitations, fatigue, itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, a runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis.
People with asthma should carry their reliever medication at all times, even when they are feeling well and follow their asthma action plan at all times.
Asthma Council Chief Executive, Siobhan Brophy said there was more precautions asthma sufferers should take with the threat of bushfires ever present.
“You should also keep an extra reliever puffer and a copy of your written asthma action plan in your evacuation kit and make sure it goes with you if you need to leave suddenly,” she said.
“Unless you’re advised to evacuate, people with asthma in smoke-affected areas should stay indoors and close all windows, doors and air vents to prevent smoke entering their home.
“If you can’t prevent smoke from entering your home, consider staying with friends or going to a place where you will be less exposed to smoke, such as an air-conditioned library or shopping centre.”
People with asthma are also advised to avoid keeping inhalers in the car glove box or other hot places, as heat can make the medication ineffective.