Asthma :: Where there’s smoke, there’s breathing trouble

Asthmatics and people prone to respiratory problems should have an action plan for the fire season to help them breathe easier over summer.

That’s the advice of Queensland University of Technology public health expert, Dr Thomas Tenkate.

“We know that when there are bushfires there are higher hospital admissions and emergency room visits for people with respiratory problems,” he said.

“We’re already seeing a bad fire season interstate and conditions in Queensland are also dangerous so it’s important for people to think ahead.

“If you have asthma or are prone to respiratory problems make sure you minimise your exposure to any smoke that drifts across your suburb or town.

“Listen to the news so that you know if your neighbourhood is likely to be affected by smoke.

“If your area is smoke-affected, stay indoors where possible and close the windows. But if the house is closed up, make sure you counter that by drinking lots of water and using fans or airconditioning.

“It’s important to have processes in place to ensure that if you are susceptible to breathing problems, you can get yourself appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

“Always have required medication, such as an asthma puffer, on hand and make sure that friends and relatives know the warning signs to look out for – and the emergency actions to take – if you experience breathing problems.

“If you have elderly neighbours keep an eye on them too.”

Dr Tenkate said a lot of his advice was common sense, but it needed reinforcing in times when people were stressed.

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