Bushfire smoke raises health concerns

25 January 2021

Monday 25 January

Due to the bushfires in Cherry Gardens, smoke can be seen across South Australia today which may pose health risks to people with chest or heart conditions.

This could pose a serious threat to health, particularly for vulnerable people with lung or heart conditions.

The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Emily Kirkpatrick, said the combined effects of recent hot weather and poor air quality from bushfires means people should take extra precautions.

“We are urging people to stay indoors where possible, avoid physical exercise outdoors and reduce their exposure to smoky air,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.

“People should keep windows and doors shut, and ventilate the house once the smoke clears.

“If possible, avoid running evaporative air conditioners which draw in external air. Switch your car air conditioning to recirculate.

“Smoke particles can aggravate existing health problems such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and heart conditions.

“Other vulnerable groups include people 65 years and older, young children and infants, pregnant women and people with diabetes.”

People with asthma and other respiratory conditions should follow their action plans, including carrying their reliever medication at all times if prescribed.

Symptoms of smoke inhalation may include difficulty breathing, coughing, chest tightness, heart palpitations, fatigue, itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, a runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

If you are having trouble breathing, seek medical attention.

More information can be found on the Bushfires page.