Haze, smoke to linger in Cairns skies for week

Haze, smoke to linger in Cairns skies for week

29 September 2009

published by www.cairns.com.au

Australia —

The weather bureau is tipping haze and smoke to continue to cloud Far Northern skies until Friday, after two dust storms swept through the region in the past week.

Residents and visitors have expressed frustration and irritation after days of clouded skies since the first wave of dust hit Cairns on Thursday.

“I now know what it must be like to live in China, choke, choke,” Peter G. of Manoora commented on cairns.com.au.

“I walked the dogs at the beach and you couldn’t even see the range. Sore eyes, sore throat,” Mecky Berger posted on day two of the dust. 

However, Queensland Health says for most people the dust and smoke presents no risk.

Queensland Health’s Sophie Dwyer said only people with respiratory conditions needed to be cautious.

“Dust might pose a slight risk though to some people by increasing the symptoms of some respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, or people with heart disease,” she said.

“People with lung or heart conditions are advised to limit their exertion while the dust haze lasts.

“Anyone with these conditions should remain indoors as much as possible, continue to use usual medication and seek medical attention if their symptoms worsen.”

Smoke from bushfires is also an elevated health risk for children and the elderly, smokers and people with heart or lung conditions, including asthma.

They are more sensitive to bushfire smoke, and anyone experiencing breathing problems or chest pain should seek medical advice immediately.

Those with pre-existing lung or heart conditions in particular should rest as much as possible and, if possible, keep away from the smoke.

Several minor grassfires continue to burn throughout the Far North today.

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