Listen: Asthma Australia CEO Michelle Goldman chats to Sam and Duncan
Asthma Sufferers Urged to Stay Inside and Keep Medicine Handy, as Bushfire Smoke Settles on Sydney
Asthma sufferers are being encouraged to keep their relief medication on hand, as the massive, 164,000-hectare bushfire in Wollemi and Yengo National Parks northwest of Sydney continues to burn.
Those who suffer lung conditions are at risk both from the smoke, as well as heightened stress they may be feeling.
Asthma Australia CEO Michelle Goldman told Hope Breakfast that it’s important for the 1 in 9 Australians who suffer asthma, to avoid the outdoors today.
“The most sensible thing for people to do is to try and avoid unnecessary exposure,” she said. “Keep your windows and doors shut. If you’re driving in a car, use reverse cycle air-conditioning.
“I’d urge all people with asthma to have their reliever medications on hand. Symptoms can come on quite quickly and can deteriorate into a very serious asthma flare-up. So if you’re experiencing any breathlessness or wheeziness or a persistent cough or tightness in the chest, they’re all common symptoms for asthma. Make sure you’ve got your reliever medication close at hand, and use it to alleviate symptoms before they deteriorate.”
Helping a Person with Asthma
If you are out or at work and see someone who’s struggling to breathe, Michelle suggests the following steps:
- Sit the person down.
- Calm them and reassure them.
- Give them four puffs of their reliever medication.
- Relief medication is best administered through a spacer if the person has one.
The best way to take a reliever spray such as Ventolin when having an asthma flare-up, is to take one puff, followed by four breaths, and then repeat this three more times. After those four puffs, wait four minutes, and then repeat the whole procedure a second time.
“If things don’t improve after doing that twice, we’d really encourage you seek emergency assistance,” Michelle said. “You can only live without for minutes air so it’s important to get help quickly.”
The smoke haze is expected to dissipate as today warms up and winds build. The RFS says the Wollemi fire is being controlled, but north-westerly winds through the week mean that the smoke will likely continue to affect Sydney through the week.