Allergies

What can I do about bush fire smoke and air quality?

Is air quality affecting the way you breathe? Fortunately, there are still many things you can do to protect your lung health.

If used appropriately and properly fitted, P2/N45 filter masks may help reduce some inhaled smoke, pollutant and dust particles, but there’s a lot more that can help to reduce, maybe even remove breathed in particles and control resulting respiratory symptoms.

Here’s a quick reference check list to help ease your breathing during bush fire season:

TRY TO REDUCE AND REMOVE INHALED IRRITANTS

  1. Check the air quality in your area and minimise exposure by staying indoors if necessary. There’s some great apps available. We love AirVisual because it is simple to use, localised and the data is from sourced from a credible authority on Air Quality Index.
  2. Keep your windows and doors closed to help preserve indoor air quality.
  3. Avoid unnecessary exercise both indoors and outdoors.
  4. Disposable filter masks (P2/N45) can be helpful but note they do NOT remove all particles from the air.
  5. Wash nasal and sinus passages twice daily with a preservative-free, isotonic saline. This helps remove smoke particles. Irritants like this can aggravate nasal congestion and cause a burning feeling in the throat. Try a Flo Sinus Care Kit, available from all Australian Pharmacies. A nasal/sinus wash kit like this can be used in children as young as 5-6 years of age.

CONTROL YOUR RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS

  1. People with respiratory allergies, should carry medication with them at ALL times. NOTE: asthma medication must be taken daily or as prescribed in your Asthma Action Plan. If you have hay fever allergies, try an antihistamine nasal spray like Eze Allergy. The antihistamine in Eze Allergy is fast-acting and starts to work within minutes and lasts for 12 hours.
  2. Always ensure your Asthma/Allergy Action Plan is up-to-date. If you are in any doubt about this, talk to your GP today.
  3. If you use an inhaler and/or nasal spray, check with your GP or Pharmacist that you understand the correct technique. They can demonstrate the proper way to administer it. See image below for the correct way to use a nasal spray. You’ll be surprised how few people get it right!
  4. You can also monitor how your breathing is going with a handy little device called a Peak Flow Meter. These are available through some Pharmacies and may be useful for both you and your health professional to monitor. With careful monitoring your Asthma/Allergy Action Plan can be adjusted if necessary.
  5. For more information about bush fire and smoke protection, please visit Asthma Australia’s website, talk to a qualified Asthma Coach on 1800 ASTHMA or book an appointment with your GP.

 

Important note: If your health is impacted by inhaling bush fire smoke or pollution, ALWAYS seek health professional advice.

Always read the label. Follow instructions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.