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Handling smoke haze problems for asthmatics

You might have noticed a fair bit of smoke haze over Melbourne at the moment. That’s due to the annual hazard reduction burns beginning in earnest.

The warm weather is complicating things though, particularly for asthmatics and others with breathing difficulties. So, here’s some practical advice for anyone who is prone to asthma on how to manage this period.

The best thing you can do is to try to avoid the smoke by:

  • Staying inside as much as you can, and closing all doors & windows

  • If you have an air-conditioner, set it to recycle the air, rather than bring in air from outside your home

  • If you have to go out in your car, likewise close the windows and use your car air-conditioner on recycle setting too

  • Wherever possible avoid doing any physical activity outdoors such as running or even walking at a fast pace

  • If you just have to get out of the house, trying going to large, public air-conditioned spaces such as a shopping centre, library etc

Portable air filters can help to provide some reduction of smoke particles in the air but they generally don’t work for your whole home, so best to try to use them in one room only. Keep the doors closed in that room to increase their effectiveness.

Smoke from any fires does more than just irritate your airways, your eyes and your nose and throat. Smoke actually contains very fine particulate matter that when inhaled can go deep into your lungs, causing inflammation. They can even enter your bloodstream and affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

This is why smoke can trigger asthma attacks and cause severe problems for those with emphysema, chronic lung conditions, type 2 diabetes and even cardiovascular diseases like angina or heart failure.

If you are asthmatic and you find the smoke from the hazard reduction burns is causing you symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath, please ensure you start actioning your Asthma First Aid plan. If you are someone who lives with or knows someone with asthma and want to help them, please read our previous blog

And if you’d like to be better trained on first aid for all situations, not just asthma attacks, book into one of our first aid courses today at


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