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Bush fire smoke a trigger for asthmatics

16 February 2017
Bush fire smoke a trigger for asthmatics

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ urges those with asthma and respiratory conditions in the Christchurch area to be prepared – as bush fire smoke can trigger asthma attacks, allergies and shortness of breath.

The smoke from bush fires contains small particles that can cause irritation to the lungs, eyes, nose and throat.

People are advised to minimise their exposure to smoke and time spent outdoors. Windows and doors need to be kept closed, air vents blocked, and air conditioning set to a recycle setting.

Tips for asthmatics during bush fires:
Continue taking asthma preventer medication as prescribed.
Always carry asthma reliever medication, and use it as soon as asthma symtoms are present. When possible use a spacer which enables more medication to be delivered into the lungs.
If asthma reliever medication is not working, or is required every 2-3 hours or more, seek medical advice by calling 111 for an ambulance.
Elderly people, children, and people working at the fire front are most at risk. Access help fast if someone appears unwell.
If you don’t have an Asthma Action Plan or are unsure of what to do in an asthma emergency, follow the Asthma First Aid procedure.
It is important to remember that people who aren’t in affected areas are also at high risk, as winds can carry smoke and ash particles for long distances. Smoke and air pollution can linger long after the fires have subsided, so it is essential to remain prepared.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is a not-for-profit organisation committed to those affected by asthma and respiratory illness. Free resources are available at asthmaandrespiratory.org.nz.

ENDS

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