Thick smoke health hazard

Thick smoke health hazard

18 January 2005


DENSE smoke from a big bushfire on Perth’s eastern fringe was creating hazardous conditions for the city’s elderly and people with respiratory and heart conditions, the West Australian health department warned today.

An overnight easterly breeze swept a smoke pall over much of the Perth metropolitan area and today residents were being told to remain indoors, turn off air-conditioners and to seek medical attention if problems with breathing arose.

Asthmatics were among those most at risk from the choking smoke cloud and ash particles, health department specialist Dr Paul Van Buynder said today.

“People affected by the smoke haze should only venture outside if absolutely necessary,” Dr Van Buynder said.

“This is particularly important for those people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

“Exposure to smoke from fires can cause coughing and shortness of breath and temporarily irritate the eyes, nose and throat.

“People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion and stay indoors.”

Visibility throughout Perth was so poor today that the Fire and Emergency Services Authority advised residents to use their car headlights when driving.

A clearing sea breeze was due to pass through Perth early this afternoon (WST), but that wind change could cause difficulties for firefighters battling the five-day-old blaze.


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