Smoke from bushfires are made up of small particles, gases and water vapour. The gases in bushfire smoke include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (NSW Government, 2013).
Due to the size of the particles – it becomes easier for them to go deeper into the lungs.
These particles can cause a variety of health problems:
- Itchy/burning eyes
- Throat irritation
- Running nose
- Illnesses (such as bronchitis)
- Aggravate existing lung conditions (such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma) (NSW Government, 2013).
- Stay indoors, with windows and doors closed. Stay in an air-conditioned premise if possible.
- Avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have asthma or a lung condition.
- Cover nose and mouth with a mask designed to filter fine particles (NSW Government, 2013).
Although symptoms generally disappear, once the smoke has ceased – some symptoms can go on to last for several days.
A retail pharmacy has access to asthma relief products – in addition to eye drops, throat sprays, lozenges and other helpful products that are useful throughout fire season.
- NSW Government, 2013. Bushfire smoke. Viewed on 13/11/19. https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx