New warnings as air quality plummets
PARENTS are being urged to keep asthmatic children home and tradies should wear protective masks as another thick smoke haze is expected to blanket southeast Queensland, returning air quality to dangerous levels.
Smoke pushed from bushfires in NSW and the Scenic Rim has reduced visibility and air quality across the southeast, speaking fears today's level of air pollution will again be worse than in Beijing, as it was on Monday.
Respiratory physician Dr Philip Masel said those at highest risk are the elderly, children, pregnant women, smokers and people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions.
"If a child has had unstable asthma and their parents are worried about them, it's a good idea to keep them home and get them checked by a GP," Dr Masel said. "For moderate to severe asthma, they definitely should consider keeping them at home. I think pretty much every child should be limiting their exposure to the outside if there is a lot of smoke haze around," he said.
Dr Masel said adults with asthma should also limit any exposure to the outside until the smoke haze subsides and check in with a GP to ensure preventive medication is in date and working as it should.
"These particles are about 130th the diameter of a human hair, so they're extremely small particles and they can easily get down into the lung tissue and airways and the immune system is fired up and you can get very red, inflamed airways," Dr Masel said.
"If smoke haze increases back up to Monday's levels of 180µg/m, adults with asthma definitely want to be restricting their activity outside to a minimum," he said. People required to work outside should consider wearing a protective mask," Dr Masel said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has urged all Queenslanders to minimise their time outside and if possible shut doors and put airconditioners on. She said Queensland Health had seen an increase in patients admitted to hospitals for respiratory issues and again urged people to avoid outdoor physical exercise such as running. Ms Young said while it may seem clear, dangerous particles could still be present in the air and "people need to be alert".
Bureau of Meteorology Meteorologist Dean Narramore said the smoke haze was coming from a combination of several severe bushfires in northern NSW and Queensland's Scenic Rim and it was difficult to predict when the smoke haze would clear.